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Rediscovered Warhol Self-Portrait Tops Christie’s Contemporary Art Auction

by WorthPoint Staff (02/17/11).

This Andy Warhol self portrait, out of public view since entering a private collection in the mid-1970s, was the top lot in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Christie’s on Feb. 16.

LONDON – An Andy Warhol self portrait, out of public view since entering a private collection in the mid-1970s, was the top lot in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction at Christie’s on Feb. 16. The sale, in which 92 percent of the lots sold, realized $99,190,888—the highest total for the category in London since June 2008.

With buyers from 21 different countries, and more than 160 clients bidding by phone, the breakdown (by lot / by origin) was 51 percent from Europe (including the UK), 40 percent were Americas and 9 percent from Asia. Six artist records were set; for Jenny Saville, Martial Raysse, Miquel Barcelò, Wade Guyton, Ged Quinn and Adriana Varejão.

“We saw fierce competition and strong prices for the works of both established artists as well as those from the 21st century; Andy Warhol’s rediscovered self-portrait sold for more than twice our pre-sale expectations for £10.8 million, while a masterpiece by contemporary Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão sold for £1.1 million—nearly four times the high estimate,” said Francis Outred, head of Christie’s Europe’s Post-War and Contemporary Art. “We are particularly pleased to have established a record price for a work by a living French artist with Martial Raysse’s masterpiece ‘L’année dernière à Capri (titre exotique)’ which realized $6.5 million against a pre-sale estimate of $1.6 million – $2.4 million.”

Highlights of the sale:

• The monumental-scale self-portrait by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) sold for $17,441,892. Recently discovered having been in a private collection since 1974, this previously unpublished work was executed in 1967 and is an addition to a historically important series of 10 self-portraits. It was offered with a presale estimate of $4.8 million to $8 million and was bought by a bidder in the room.

“L'année dernière à Capri (titre exotique)” by Martial Raysse

• “L’année dernière à Capri (titre exotique)” by Martial Raysse (b. 1936) sold for $6,582,372—a world record price for a work by a living French artist. It had a pre-sale estimate of $1.6 million-$2.4 million; proceeds will benefit a charitable Foundation. Painted in 1962, it is an exceptionally early milestone from the early history of Pop Art. It was offered at auction for the first time having been in the same private collection since circa 1975.

“Abstraktes Bild” by Gerhard Richter

• “Abstraktes Bild,” 1990, by Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) sold for $5,134,436 against an estimate of $1.6 million-$2.4 million. A mesmerizing work that represents the pinnacle of the artist’s move into abstraction, it was one of four works by the artist offered at this auction, all of which sold.

“Winter Bears” by Jeff Koons

• “Winter Bears,” by Jeff Koons (b. 1955) sold for $4,772,452 (estimate: ($4 million-$5.6 million). Executed in 1988, it is a seminal work from the highly acclaimed “Banality” series, which launched him as an international art star in the late 1980s.

“Concetto spaziale” by Lucio Fontana

• “Concetto spaziale,” 1961, by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) realized $4,410,468 (estimate: $3.2 million-$4.8 million). A sumptuous symphony of gold, this work is from the artist’s breakthrough series “Olii,” which includes the celebrated Venice series of the same year.

“Parede com Incisões a la Fontana II (Wall with Incisions a la Fontana II) by Adriana Vãrejao

• The auction presented a strong group of global artists from the 21st century. Leading highlights included “Parede com Incisões a la Fontana II (Wall with Incisions a la Fontana II),” 2001, an important masterpiece by Adriana Vãrejao (b. 1964), one of Brazil’s leading contemporary artists. It sold for $1,786,084—far exceeding the estimate of $320,200-$480,300 and setting a record for the artist’s work at auction.

“Grand Timonier” by Yan Pei-Ming

• “Grand Timonier,” by Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming attracted 11 telephone bidders from Europe, America and Asia and sold for $855,268 (estimate: $400,250-$560,350).

Full results can be found at the Christie’s web site.

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