Mark Rothko (1903-1970) Blue, Red, Black on Red, acrylic on paper laid down on panel, 24 x 18 in. (70 x 45.7 cm.) Painted in 1967. Est. $1,500,000 - $2,000,000. Price Realized $2,042,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale totaled $74,151,500/£44,669,578/€49,766,107. Works by artists Peter Doig, Jeff Koons, and Joan Mitchell commanded the top prices. In addition, new world record prices were set for works on paper by Philip Guston, and Brice Marden and a drawing by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Marc Porter, President of Christie’s Americas, states: “This Evening Sale confirmed the stability of the Post-War market for the freshest and highest caliber works by Peter Doig, Joan Mitchell, and Jasper Johns with strong prices achieved for highly sought-after artists. These results reflected a market that is sophisticated, focused and determined in its buying activity. Master works on paper captured the interest of international buyers, attracting fierce bidding and achieving record prices for drawings by Jean Michel Basquiat, Brice Marden, and Philip Guston. Private collections and estates performed superbly, led by The Collection of John Cage and Merce Cunningham sold to benefit the Cunningham Trust, which soared beyond expectation.”
The sale of Property from the Collection of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, Sold to Benefit the Merce Cunningham Trust presented collectors with the opportunity to acquire six significant works by the great Post-War masters Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Philip Guston. All six works achieved strong prices, achieving a collective total of $7,111,000. Two of the most important figures to emerge in the American Post-War era, Cunningham and Cage collaborated and forged friendships with some of the most influential artists of their generation. It is therefore fitting that the centerpiece of the collection is a work directly inspired by Merce Cunningham and his dance troupe – Jasper Johns, Dancers on a Plane, Merce Cunningham, 1980-1981, which realized $4,338,500.
Jasper Johns (b. 1930) Dancers on a Plane, titled 'DANCERS ON A PLANE MERCE CUNNINGHAM' (lower edge) oil on canvas, 30 x 23¾ (76.2 x 60.3 cm.) Painted in 1980-1981. Est. $1,500,000 - $2,000,000. Price Realized $4,338,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
An exceptional group of works by Robert Rauschenberg including works from the 1950s were offered, each emblematic of his highly experimental approach, including a transfer drawing dedicated to John Cage, Untitled, from 1961 that sold for $938,500 and No. 1, 1951, which achieved $962,500. A new world auction record of $542,500 was established for a work on paper by Philip Guston, with the sale of Untitled, an ink on paper executed circa 1953.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) Untitled, signed and dated 'Rauschenberg 1961' (on the reverse); inscribed 'FOR JOHN C.' (lower edge) solvent transfer, graphite, charcoal, crayon, watercolor, acrylic and gouache on paper board, 11½ x 10¼ in. (29.2 x 26 cm.) Executed in 1961. Est. $100,000 - $150,000. Price Realized $938,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Philip Guston (1913-1980) Untitled, signed 'Philip Guston' (lower right) ink on paper, 24½ x 39 in. (62.2 x 99.1 cm.) Painted circa 1953. Est. $150,000 - $200,000 Price Realized $542,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
The sale’s top lot was Peter Doig’s Reflection (What Does Your Soul Look Like), 1996, which sold for $10,162,500 after an extended bidding battle. Considered one of the artist’s great masterpieces, the large-scale painting echoes Gustav Klimt’s landscapes, Caspar David Friedrich’s figures, Claude Monet’s waterlilies, and Jackson Pollock’s drips.
Peter Doig (b. 1959) Reflection (What does your soul look like) signed and dated 'PETER DOIG 1996' (on the reverse) oil on canvas, 108 x 78 7/8 in. (274.4 x 200.4 cm.) Painted in 1996. Price Realized $10,162,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
One of the most important paintings by Joan Mitchell to be offered at auction, Untitled, circa 1958 achieved $5,458,500. A powerful and intense painting created by a youthful Mitchell at the beginning of her career, Untitled demonstrates the unbridled force and unrelenting passion that came to define Mitchell’s best work.
Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) Untitled, signed 'Joan Mitchell' (lower right) oil on canvas, 75 x 71 in. (190.5 x 180.3 cm.) Painted circa 1958. Est. $5,000,000 - $7,000,000. Price Realized $5,458,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Master works on paper from prominent artists achieved strong prices, including a rare large-scale Untitled, 1982 by Jean-Michel Basquiat, which set a new world auction record for a drawing by the artist $3,106,500. A second Basquiat work, Untitled (14 Drawings) achieved $1,986,500. Elsewhere, Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Campbell’s Soup Can from 1961 by Andy Warhol $1,052,500 and Untitled with Green, 1989 by Brice Marden, sold for $2,042,500, also establishing a world auction record for a work on paper by the artist.
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Untitled, signed and dated 'JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT 1982' (on the reverse) oilstick and masking tape on paper, 60 x 40 in. (152.4 x 101.6 cm.) Painted in 1982. Est. $1,800,000 - $2,800,000. Price Realized $3,106,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Heinz Tomato Ketchup with Campbell's Soup Can, signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 62' (on the reverse) graphite on paper, 23¾ x 17 7/8 in. (60.3 x 45.4 cm.) Drawn in 1962. Est. $1,000,000 - $1,500,000. Price Realized $1,052,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Three seminal, early works by Jeff Koons drew strong bidding. The rare and spectacular Large Vase of Flowers, an exquisitely colorful, vibrant work with complex allusions to social hierarchies, taste, life cycles, and sex, ultimately sold for $5,682,500. Koons’s New Shelton Wet/Dry 5-Gallon, New Hoover Convertible Doubledecker, 1981-87, from his ground-breaking series, The New, achieved $3,106,500. Completing the selection was Wishing Well, 1988, a large Rococo-like mirror inspired by the artist’s fascination with old masters and immortality from his best known series, Banality, totaled $1,142,500.
Jeff Koons (b. 1955) Large Vase of Flowers, signed, dated and numbered 'J. Koons 1991 1/3' (on the base) polychromed wood, 52 x 43 x 43 in. (132 x 109.2 x 109.2 cm.) Executed in 1991. This work is number one from an edition of three plus one artist's proof. Est. $4,000,000 - $6,000,000. Price Realized $5,682,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Jeff Koons (b. 1955) New Shelton Wet/Dry 5-Gallon, New Hoover Convertible Doubledecker, one Shelton Wet/Dry, one Hoover Convertible, acrylic and fluorescent lighting, 99 x 28 x 28 in. (251.5 x 71.1 x 71.1 cm.) Executed in 1981-1987. Est. $2,000,000 - $3,000,000. Price Realized $3,106,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Jeff Koons (b. 1955) Wishing Well, dated and numbered '1988 3/3' (on the reverse) gilded wood and mirror, 87 x 56 x 6 in. (221 x 142.2 x 15.2 cm.) Executed in 1988. This work is number three from an edition of three plus one artist's proof. Est. $1,200,000 - $1,800,000. Price Realized $1,142,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
An important orange-hued vintage stack sculpture by Donald Judd, Untitled, 1968 (DSS120) realized $4,898,500. The present work is one of a small number of this ground-breaking series composition Judd created between 1965-1968. Other sculptures presented in the sale yielded strong results, including two works by Alexander Calder: Untitled, a large-scale hanging mobile created in 1950, which achieved a top price at $3,554,500, and Constellation with Red Knife, circa 1943, which realized $2,378,500. David Smith’s Abandoned Foundation (Landscape) soared above the estimate of $600,000-800,000 to sell for $1,426,500.
Donald Judd (1928-1994) Untitled, 1968 (DSS 120), stainless steel and amber Plexiglas, ten units; each: 6 x 27 x 24 in. (15.2 x 68.6 x 61 cm.) Executed in 1968. Est. $2,500,000 - $4,500,000. Price Realized $4,898,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Alexander Calder (1898-1976) Untitled, signed with artist monogram 'CA' (on the white element) hanging mobile--painted and unpainted sheet metal, wire, 28 x 83 x 16 in. (71.1 x 210.8 x 40.6 cm.) Executed circa 1950. $1,000,000 - $1,500,000. Price Realized $3,554,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Alexander Calder (1898-1976) Constellation with Red Knife, signed with monogram 'CA' (on the underside) wood and painted wire, 19 x 22 x 14 in. (48.3 x 55.9 x 35.6 cm.) Executed circa 1943. Est. $1,500,000 - $2,500,000. Price Realized $2,378,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009
Among one of the most anticipated works in the sale was Andy Warhol’s Michael Jackson, which sold for $812,500. The painting was one of a small group of portraits executed in the 1980’s of the late pop legend, one of which was subsequently used as a cover for Time Magazine and is now in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
The sales continue at Christie’s New York Wednesday November 11, with the Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Day Sales.
Mark Rothko (1903-1970) Untitled (Gray and Mauve) with signature and date 'Mark Rothko 1969' (on the reverse) acrylic on paper laid down on canvas, 46½ x 33¼ in. (118.1 x 84.5 cm.) Painted in 1969. Est. $1,500,000 - $2,000,000. Price Realized $1,986,500. Image Christie's Ltd 2009