Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Muhammad Ali, 1977. 40 x 40 in (101.6 x 101.6 cm). Sold for £4,973,250 on 12 February 2020 at Christie’s in London. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020
LONDON.- The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in London realised £56,180,434 / $72,697,482, to take the running total for 20th Century Week to £184,916,135.
The top price of the night was achieved by Andy Warhol’s Muhammad Ali, which sold for £4,973,250 (including buyer’s premium). In 1977, Richard L. Weisman commissioned Warhol to paint the ‘Athletes’ series, a set of ten silkscreen portraits of the leading sports stars of the day — including Muhammad Ali, Chris Evert and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Signed by both Warhol and Ali, it was one of 10 works by Warhol offered from Weisman’s collection in the sale. Further ‘Athletes’ series works from the Weisman Collection were offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 13 November 2019 in New York.
The second and third highest prices of the sale came for works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Hockney.
A poetic example of Basquiat’s celebrated ‘stretcher paintings’, The Mosque (1982) sold for £3,951,729. Basquiat’s rugged, emblematic canvases were an instant hit, and are still widely regarded as one of his most original innovations.
Lot 30. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), The Mosque, signed, titled and dated ‘“THE MOSQUE” 1982 Jean Michel Basquiat’ (on the reverse), acrylic, oilstick and ink on paper collage and canvas with tied wood supports, 60 x 60in. (152.5 x 152.5cm.) Executed in 1982. Estimate GBP 4,000,000 - GBP 6,000,000. Price realised GBP 3,951,729. Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
David Hockney’s Walnut Trees, a radiant love letter to the East Yorkshire landscape from 2006, realised £3,251,250. Painted with loose, impressionistic, brushstrokes, Hockney’s depictions of the Wolds between 2005 and 2008 marked a major new chapter in his forty-year-long career.
Lot 11. David Hockney (b. 1937), Walnut Trees, signed, titled and dated ‘Wallnut [sic] Trees David Hockney 29 April 06’ (on the reverse), oil on canvas, 36 x 48in. (91.5 x 122cm.) Painted on 29 April 2006. Estimate GBP 2,500,000 - GBP 3,500,000. Price realised GBP 3,251,250. Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
The auction, which sold 98 per cent by lot and 99 per cent by value, saw strong results for a group of young artists whose markets are on the rise.
Jordan Casteel’s Mom from 2013 realised £515,250, a record price for the artist at auction; while Spare Moment by Tschabalala Self fetched £212,500, more than double the pre-sale low estimate. Dana Schutz’s Kissing in the Dump (2004) soared past the high estimate before realising £695,250, and Cecily Brown’s Girl Trouble achieved £1,482,307.
Lot 1. Jordan Casteel (b. 1989), Mom, signed and dated '2013 Jordan Casteel' (on the reverse), oil on canvas, 48 x 36in. (121.9 x 91.4cm.) Painted in 2013. Estimate GBP 180,000 - GBP 250,000. Price realised GBP 515,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
Executed in 1990, Günther Förg’s Untitled set a record price for the artist at auction when it sold for £1,331,250, while Antonio Tàpies’ Pintura del Cubell (Painting with Laundry Bucket) from the mid 1970s set a new world auction for the medium by the artist when it fetched £851,250.
Lot 18. Günther Förg (1952-2013), Untitled, each: signed and dated ‘Förg 90’ (on the reverse), acrylic on lead on wood, in twenty-two parts; each: 23 7/8 x 16in. (60.5 x 40.5cm.) Executed in 1990. Estimate GBP 1,000,000 - GBP 1,500,000. Price realised GBP 1,331,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
Lot 35. Antoni Tàpies (1923 - 2012), Pintura del Cubell (Painting with Laundry Bucket), signed 'tàpies' (on the reverse, mixed media and assemblage on wood, 84 ¼ x 102 ½in. (214 x 260.5cm.) Executed mid-1970. Estimate GBP 300,000 - GBP 400,000. Price realised GBP 851,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
Other notable results included Albert Oehlen’s Mission Rohrfrei (Down Periscope) from 1996, which achieved £3,191,250; and Gotthard Graubner’s ohne Titel (Untitled) (1995-1997), which made nearly double the low estimate at £491,250.
Lot 20. Albert Oehlen (b. 1954), Mission Rohrfrei (Down Periscope), signed and dated 'A. Oehlen 96' (on the reverse), acrylic, oil and inkjet on canvas 84 ¼ x 107 5/8in. (214 x 273.5cm.) Executed in 1996. Estimate GBP 1,800,000 - GBP 2,500,000. Price realised GBP 3,191,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
Lot 17. Gotthard Graubner (1930-2013), ohne Titel (Untitled), signed and dated 'Graubner 95/97' (on the reverse), acrylic and mixed media on canvas over synthetic wool on canvas, 88 5/8 x 72 7/8in. (225 x 185cm.) Executed in 1995-1997. Estimate GBP 250,000 - GBP 350,000. Price realised GBP 491,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
Cannibal Eyes by Eddie Martinez sold for £347,250, more than double the high estimate; while Sean Scully’s Wall of Light Red Bar (2013) sparked a bidding battle before being sold for £1,031,250. Large-scale paintings such as this grew out of watercolours that Scully produced following a trip to Mexico in 1983.
Lot 46. Eddie Martinez (b. 1977), Cannibal Eyes, signed, inscribed and dated 'UNDER PRESSURE MARTINEZ 14' (on the reverse), oil, spray paint, enamel, collaged R + F wrappers, preservative packet on canvas, 72 x 60in. (182.9 x 152.4cm.) Executed in 2014. Estimate GBP 120,000 - GBP 180,000. Price realised GBP 347,250. Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
Lot 41. Sean Scully (B. 1945), Wall of Light Red Bar, sigsigned, titled and dated 'WALL OF LIGHT RED BAR Sean Scully 1.13' (on the reverse), oil on canvas, 85 ¼ x 75in. (216.5 x 190.5cm.) Painted in 2013. Estimate GBP 600,000 - GBP 800,000. Price realised GBP 1,031,250. Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
The series of 20th Century sales in London will continue with the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale.