Auction Report: Jasper Johns’ ‘Flag’ Flies to Record $28.6 Million
Jasper Johns’ “Flag” sold for $28,642,500 million—a record for the artist at auction—in a sale of the late author Michael Crichton’s collection, facilitated by Christie’s on May 11, 2010.
NEW YORK – The quality, scope and innovative vision of the late author Michael Crichton’s collection of contemporary art compelled buyers at Christie’s on May 11, 2010 sale to dig deep. The focal point of the sale was Jasper Johns’ “Flag,” selling for $28,642,500 million, well above the estimated $10 million-$15 million heading into the auction.
The amount paid for “Flag” is the highest price ever achieved for a work by Johns at auction. The entire collection realized $93,323,500 and sold 100 percent by lot and by value, becoming one of the most significant auctions hosted by Chrtistie’s.
Four bidders vied for the flag, which took all of two minutes to sell. The winning bidder was a member of the U.S. art trade.
Completed by Johns in 1966, the work, executed in encaustic, was purchased by Crichton more than 30 years ago from the artist’s own collection. It was last seen in public in 1992 and was a key piece in the comprehensive and prized collection cultivated by the best-selling author of “Jurassic Park.” Johns’ iconic American flag are credited with jump-starting the Pop art movement; paving the way for the avant garde works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the mid 1960s. The previous record was for Johns’ “Figure 4” (encaustic and printed paper collage on canvas, 1959), which sold at Christie’s in May 2005 for $17.4 million.
Mark Tansey’s “Push/Pull”
Another record was set for Mark Tansey’s “Push/Pull” (2003), which sold for $3,283,000 (estimate $800,000 to $1.2 million). The previous record for a Tansey was $3,040,000.
Ed Ruscha’s “Voltage”
Robert Rauschenberg’s “Trapeze”
Items that sold for well more than the presale estimates included Ed Ruscha’s “Voltage” (1964), selling for $1,650,500 (estimate $700,000 to $1 million) and Robert Rauschenberg’s “Trapeze” (1964), which went for $6,354,500 (estimate $5 million to $7 million).
For more information about this auction, visit Christie’s Web site.
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