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    Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

    Strong demand from collectors demonstrated confidence in the market on par with pre-pandemic levels at Christie’s 21st Century evening sale in New York. The auction was led by the monumental canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Guilt of Gold Teeth, 1982, which made $40,000,000 in a sale that brought in $219,278,750. The 100% sold auction attracted bidders from 27 countries, with 58% of lots selling above the high estimate.

    BEEPLE (B. 1981) – HUMAN ONE Executed in 2021 and minted on 28 October 2021. This work is unique and is accompanied by a
    non fungible token. Christie’s Images Ltd., 2021

    HUMAN ONE, the first hybrid physical and digital artwork by record-shattering NFT artist Beeple achieved $28,985,000. It sold online to a bidder based in Switzerland, underscoring the power of NFTs to break into masterpiece pricing. Another notable result was Peter Doig’s Swamped which made $39,862,500 and set a new auction record for the artist. The 20/21 Marquee Week of sales in New York continues on Thursday with The Cox Collection and the 20th Century Art evening sale with the Post War and Contemporary Art day sale on Friday.


    Saturday, October 2nd, 2021

    The international autumn selling season gets underway in earnest this month. Major auction houses have been issuing previews of what to expect.  Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening sale in London on October 14, to coincide with the Frieze and Frieze Masters art fairs, will be headed by what they cheerfully describe as the most famous artwork of the 21st century, Banksy’s Love is in the Bin. Global news and instant art history happened when Girl with a Balloon was shredded just after the hammer came down on a million pound bid in 2018.  It was then authenticated by Banksy and given a new title of Love is in the Bin.  The new owner decided the wise thing to do was bank on Banksy and kept it.  It now comes to market with an estimate of £4 million – £6 million (€4.67 million – €7.01 million).

    Love is in the Bin by Banksy. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £18.5 MILLION

    This is the dawning of the age of minorities and in what will be an undoubted shot in the arm for black transgender women artists MGM resorts will sell their Picasso’s in Las Vegas on October 23 and build a new collection with a focus of diversity.  The art market of the future will feature artists from a more diverse range of backgrounds, particularly from groups who have been discriminated against. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Because it Hurts the Lungs (1986) will be a highlight at Christie’s live and livestreamed 20th/21st Century evening sale including Thinking Italian in London on October 15.  The title of the work is taken from a cryptic quote by Leonardo:  “Why the thunderbolt kills a (man and) does not wound him, and if the man blew his nose he would not die.  Because it hurts the lungs”. Winston Churchill, whose Tower at Koutoubia Mosque” sold for a record £8.3 million in March, will highlight Christie’s Modern British art evening auction in London on October 20.  The Bridge at Aix en Provence was gifted to the Swiss paint manufacturer Willy Sax, who supplied Churchill with his artistic materials and would become a lifelong friend.  It is now estimated at £1.5-£2.5 million (€1.75-€2.92 million).As part of a global expansion Bonhams has just opened its first dedicated saleroom on the Continent at Rue de la Paix in the heart of the luxury district in Paris. There will be a sale of Antiquities next Thursday (October 7).  This will be followed one week later by a sale of Post War and Contemporary art.


    Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021
    Jean-Michel Basquiat, Because it Hurts the Lungs (1986). UPDATE: THIS MADE £8.2 MILLION

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Because it Hurts the Lungs (1986) will be a highlight of Christie’s live and livestreamed 20th / 21st Century: Evening Sale including Thinking Italian in London on October 15. The multimedia work depicts a life-size green figure with a russet, cyclopean skull against a white ground. Basquiat has applied sheets of his own drawings and text, among them a cryptic extract from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci that lends the work its title: “Why the thunderbolt kills a [man and] does not wound him, and if the man blew his nose he would not die. Because it hurts the lungs.” Further collage and pigment adorn two boxes that protrude from the surface, including a drawing of the Lester Young Quartet’s 1944 jazz record Afternoon Of A Basie-ite, Japanese script, snatches of dialogue from Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Ajax, and a grinning, eyeless black head wearing a mitre-like crown.  It is estimated at £7,000,000-10,000,000. UPDATE: 20TH / 21ST CENTURY: EVENING SALE INCLUDING THINKING ITALIAN, LONDON REALISES A TOTAL OF £64,561,000 / $88,254,887 / €75,923,736


    Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021
    UPDATE: THE BASQUIAT WARRIOR SOLD FOR £30,265,619. PICASSO’S Femme assise dans un fauteuil noir (Jacqueline) sold for £9,659,000

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Warrior (on the right above) will launch the Christie’s 20th Century Art sale from Hong Kong today. Picasso’s Femme assise dans un fauteuil noir (Jacqueline) (1962) on the left above is one of two Picasso portraits in the sale. The live stream of the 20th Century Art evening sale and The Art of the Surreal from London begins at
    9pm Hong Kong / 1pm London / 9am New York on Tuesday March 23. 

    UPDATE: THE auction realised £198,716,619, selling 93% by lot, 97% by value and 128% hammer above low estimate. The series of consecutive sales was launched from Hong Kong with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Warrior (1982), which set a new record, becoming the most expensive western artwork ever sold in Asia at HK$323,600,000. Warrior saw competition from bidders in London, New York and Hong Kong, before ultimately selling to an Asian buyer on the phone in Hong Kong. Banksy’s painting Game Changer (2020), a tribute to international frontline workers during the global pandemic, achieved a world auction record following 14 minutes of bidding. Proceeds of more than £16,000,000 from the sale of the artwork will be used to support the wellbeing of University Hospital Southampton staff and patients as well as benefitting associated health organisations and charities across the UK


    Saturday, September 30th, 2017

    Jean Michel Basquiat – Cabra  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $11 MILLION

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Cabra from the collection of Yoko Ono comes up at Sotheby’s Contemporary art evening sale in New York on November 16.  The 1981-82 work, measuring 60 1/4 by 60 1/4 inches, is estimated to bring $9/12 million. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit the Spirit Foundations, founded by Yoko Ono and John Lennon, in the 1970’s.

    Yoko Ono commented:  “I have had the pleasure of owning and living with this masterwork for over two decades. The time has come for it to find a new home, and I am delighted that part of the sale proceeds will benefit the foundation I established years ago with the intention of bringing peace and tolerance to the world.”

    Executed at a time when Basquiat was exploring his Haitian and Puerto Rican roots, and becoming increasingly interested in the power of black athletes Cabra is from a group of paintings inspired by boxing icons including Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Jersey Joe Walcott.   Cabra refers to the evening in 1970 when Muhammad Ali – the greatest of all time – knocked out revered heavy-weight fighter Oscar Bonavena known as ‘The Bull’. The iconic boxing ring, the hieroglyphic ‘TKO’ above the bull’s skull and, finally, the clever play on words – Cabra is Spanish for ‘goat’ or GOAT, shorthand for the Greatest of All Time, Muhammad Ali – all add to this moving painting of one of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s long-time heroes.

    Spirit Foundations was founded in 1978 to promote a message of social advancement through collective peace and tolerance. Devotedly carried on after John Lennon’s passing in 1980, Spirit Foundations remains a charitable organization that works as an agent of positive social change


    Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

    Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face) – Jean-Michel Basquiat  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £12 MILLION

    One of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s finest full-length male figures from his series of grand-scale paintings that took the art world by storm in the early 1980’s – Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face – will lead Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction in London on March 8.  It was last sold at auction for $23,100 in 1987 one year before the artists death.  It is now estimated at £14-§8 million.

    Basquiat’s heroic male figures, always depicted with both arms raised aloft, and often shown with a studded halo or roughly pronged crown, formed the centrepiece of almost all the artist’s most important early works. Often based on the black athletes whose prowess allowed them to transcend racial boundaries in mid-20th century America, these figures were of huge personal importance to the artist. As a young black man raised in a middle-class family in Brooklyn, he readily felt the effects of racial segregation in art history: “I realised that I didn’t see many paintings with black people in them”.

    Alex Branczik, Head of Contemporary Art, Sotheby’s Europe said:  “The hero figures in Basquiat’s paintings refer to the stars of sporting, musical and artistic worlds who, thanks to their extraordinary talents, transcended their social status to become the nation’s icons. Painted with their arms held aloft and wearing a crown of thorns they also reflect Basquiat’s own dramatic ascent from street artist to gallery sensation, and to his present status as one of the most valuable and talked about artists in the world.”


    Friday, November 18th, 2016

    Richter, Warhol and Basquiat were stars of the evening sale of contemporary art at Sotheby’s in New York, which brought in $276.7 million last  night. The top lot was Gerhard Richter’s AB Still which sold to a private European buyer for $33.9 million.  Andy Warhol’s Self Portrait (Fright Wig) made $24.4 million.  Basquiat’s Brother’s Sausage made $18.6 million.

    There was a record for David Hockney at auction when Woldgate Woods, 24, 25, 26 October 2006 sold for $11.7 million. This is an oil on canvas in six parts, and it went to an anonymous buyer. The auction included Part 1 of The Ames Collection, which made $122.8 million.  There were bidders from 38 countries and Asian participation was up 11% year on year.

    (See post on for July 31, 2016)

    Andy Warhol - Self-Portrait (Fright Wig)

    Andy Warhol – Self-Portrait (Fright Wig)

    David Hockney - Woldgate Woods

    David Hockney – Woldgate Woods


    Thursday, July 14th, 2016

    Gavin Evans, Bowie (c) Gavin Evans

    Gavin Evans, Bowie (c) Gavin Evans

    David Bowie’s personal art collection, unveiled in public for the first time, will come up at Sotheby’s in London in November.  “Bowie/Collector” is to be a three-part sale of around 400 items. At its heart will be Bowie’s collection of Modern and Contemporary British art – a richly stimulating group of over 200 works by many of the most important British artists of the 20th-century, including Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Frank Auerbach and Damien Hirst. Bowie’s famously inquisitive mind also led him to Outsider Art, Surrealism, Contemporary African art and, not least, to the work of the eccentric Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group. This is a collection put together with great thoughtfulness on the basis not of reputation but of Bowie’s highly personal, intellectual response to the individual vision and individual works of particular artists.

    Before being exhibited at Sotheby’s, New Bond St. from November 1-10 there will be a series of previews around the world, starting with a three-week exhibition of selected works in London this summer, running from July 20 to August 9. Further exhibitions will follow in Los Angeles, New York and Hong Kong.

    “Art was, seriously, the only thing I’d ever wanted to own. It has always been for me a stable nourishment. I use it. It can change the way I feel in the mornings. The same work can change me in different ways, depending on what I’m going through.”

    – David Bowie, quoted in The New York Times, 1998 –

    Ettore Sottsass, Casablanca Sideboard (1981)

    Ettore Sottsass, Casablanca Sideboard (1981)

    Peter Lanyon - Witness

    Peter Lanyon – Witness

    David Bowie - Beautiful, shattering, slashing (1995)

    David Bowie – Beautiful, shattering, slashing (1995)

    Basquiat - Air Power (1984)

    Basquiat – Air Power (1984)

    Auerbach - Head of Gerda Boehm (1965)

    Auerbach – Head of Gerda Boehm (1965)


    Thursday, June 30th, 2016

    The salesroom shot taken last night.

    The salesroom shot taken last night.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Pork (1981) was the top lot at Christie’s post war and contemporary sale in London last night. From the collection of the actor Johnny Depp it made £5,122,500. Basquiat’s Self Portrait (1981) also from the Depp collection made £3,554,500.  Christie’s said that Depp’s focused collecting eye met with keen approval in the sale room.

    Sean Scully’s Eve (1992) achieved a record £902,500 and Manolo Millares’ Untitled (Composition) Painting no. 4 made £842,500. A total of 10 works sold for over £1 million, with 16 for over $1,000,000 and 17 for over €1,000,000.  Registered bidders from 39 countries across four continents demonstrated the continued demand in the global contemporary market, as well as a proven strength of the domestic market with 10 lots selling to UK-based collectors.

    Edmond Francey, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, London: “Tonight’s results offer real assurance and continued strength to the globalised art market, with a particularly energetic response to Adrian Ghenie, Andy Warhol, Nicolas de Staël, Georg Baselitz and Manolo Millares. The response to Johnny Depp’s Basquiats electrified the sale room and we continue to see that for the top works collectors will stretch themselves to the highest levels. Christie’s has been able to read the market and offer our consignors and buyers the quality that can continue to attract top collectors to the market. This evening’s total contributes to Christie’s successful 250th anniversary with a Bacon, two Freuds, two Rileys and two Auerbachs to come tomorrow as part of a stellar cast of artists,  which we estimate will contribute a further £40-60 million to Post-War and Contemporary Art totals this week as part of the Defining British Art Evening Sale.”


    Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

    Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Untitled Acrylic on canvas Painted in 1982 © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, New York 2016.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) Untitled
    © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, New York 2016.

    An untitled 1982 acrylic on canvas by Jean Michel Basquiat was the top lot at Christie’s Post War and Contemporary art evening sale in New York on May 10. Bought by a collector in Asia it made $57,285,000 in a 60 lot auction which realized $318,388,000.  The sale was 87% sold by lot and 91% by value.

    Mark Rothko’s No. 17 painted in 1957 made $32.6 million: Clyfford Still’s PH-234 made $28.1 million and an enamel on aluminum by Christopher Wool painted in 1992 sold for $13.6 million.  Others in the top ten were Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Richard Prince, Robert Ryman, Cy Twombly and Roy Lichtenstein.

    There were six new world auction records for artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Agnes Martin, Mike Kelley, Richard Prince, Kerry James Marshall and Barry X Ball. The results bring the week’s running total to at Christie’s to $396.5 million, which includes the price achieved by the May 8 evening auction of Bound to Fail. Registered bidders from 39 countries took part, with strong bidding from Asia, Europe and the United States.

    Sara Friedlander, Vice President, Head of Evening Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art, stated“We built our sales this season to reflect the macro environment, providing an ideal balance that suits an array of collecting tastes. Tonight’s success is the result of a tightly edited sale with top quality works, which were extremely fresh to the marketplace. 84% of the lots had never been sold at auction, and of the 10 works that had been sold, only 4 had been offered over the past 10 years”.

    Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “We are very proud of the record price achieved for Basquiat’s monumental portrait of the artist as devil at a time when top collectors are pursuing works of the very highest quality. This painting drew intense competition that dispelled questions of a market contraction”.