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    Friday, May 13th, 2022
    CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926) – Le Parlement, soleil couchant made $75.9 million

    THE final evening sales at Christie’s in New York last night achieved $843.7 bringing the running total for the Spring 2022 Marquee Week sales to $1.26 Billion. The collection of Anne H. Bass made $363.1 million, the 20th century evening sale made $468.2 million and The Raptor sold for $12.4 million. The collection of Anne H. Bass was 100% sold, and 149% sold above the low estimate. There was a new record for Edgar Degas’s Petite danseuse de quatorze ans which soared over its high estimate of $30 million to sell for $41.6 million, breaking his record for the first time in almost 15 years. Monet’s Parlement was the top lot of the sale and made $75.9 Million.

    Bonnie Brennan, President of Christie’s Americas, commented, “We were honored to sell the exquisite collection of Anne H. Bass. The twelve masterpieces, beautifully chosen, reflect the unique perspective of a female collector.”

    The 20th Century evening sale sold 98% by lot and 99% by value. The Sugar Shack by Ernie Barnes set a new record at $15.2 Million, 76 times its high estimate. In Barnes’ first appearance in an evening sale, the work had competition from 22 bidders. It sold to a buyer in the room after more than ten and a half minutes of bidding. Another artist record was established by Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, which sold for $45 million. The work had hung in the White House for multiple presidencies. Thirteen works in the sale achieved more than $10 million. The top lot of the sale was Number 31, an iconic drip painting by Jackson Pollock which made $54.2 million.

    (See posts on for April 19, April 22 and May 3, 2022)



    Tuesday, April 19th, 2022
    JACKSON POLLOCK (1912-1956) – Number 31
    signed and dated ‘Jackson Pollock 49’ (upper left). UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR $54.2 MILLION

    A powerful example of Jackson Pollock’s celebrated drip paintings – Number 31, 1949 – will lead Christie’s 20th century evening sale in New York on May 12. Made of oil, enamel, aluminum paint and gesso on paper mounted on Masonite the estimate is in excess of $45 million. It has been featured in a number of important exhibitions, including the 1967 Jackson Pollock MoMA retrospective in addition to the 1998 retrospective mounted at MoMA and The Tate. Held in the same private collection for over two decades the work is fresh to market.

    Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman of 20th and 21st Century Art, said:  “In the late 1940s, Pollock’s drip paintings categorically redefined how we understand art. This moment saw the art world’s centre of gravity shift for the first time away from the museums and galleries of Paris and into the streets of New York. With his revolutionary new technique, Pollock effectively upended the existing framework of traditional painting practices. True drip paintings were—and still are—the ultimate in mid-century American avant-garde, and are rare to come across in the secondary market. Number 31 is a superb example. It is a fantastic, frenetic combination of rich hues—straight from the paint can.” 


    Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

    Jackson Pollock’s Red Composition will highlight Christie’s evening sale of 20th/21st century art in New York on October 6. This early seminal and painting dates to the end of 1946. It is among the first paintings in which Pollock freed paint from the interference of his brush, allowing it to take on its own form and in the process become a manifestation of true abstraction.

    It is being sold by the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York, as part of a larger museum commitment to refine and diversify its collection and establish a fund for future acquisitions of artworks by artists of colour, women artists, and other under-represented emerging and mid-career artists. The decision to sell is in keeping with guidelines established by the American Alliance of Museums and has the support of the Board of Trustees of the Museum as well as the foundation established by Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman who donated the work in 1991. 

    Red Composition first belonged to the legendary dealer and gallery owner Peggy Guggenheim, one of Jackson Pollock’s earliest an patrons. Guggenheim gave it to Jimmy Ernst, son of Surrealist painter Max Ernst, in 1947. Ernst Senior was married to Guggenheim between 1941 and 1946. Early in the 1950’s it was acquired by New York businessman Marshall Reisman and his wife Dorothy and in their personal collection for over forty years until it was donated in 1991 to the Everson Museum. It is estimated at $12-18 million.

    JACKSON POLLOCK (1912-1956)
    Red Composition


    Saturday, March 31st, 2018

    Jackson Pollock’s Number 32, 1949

    Number 32, 1949 by Jackson Pollock comes up at Sotheby’s contemporary art evening auction in New York on May 16.  Never before seen at auction it is estimated at $30-40 million.  The production of the artist’s drip paintings of 1948-9 stands as one of the most radical events in 20th-century art, in which the boundaries of painting were pushed and a new aesthetic established. Number 32, 1949 comes from a critical year for the artist and epitomises the chaotic vibrancy, heroic drama and thrilling vigour that have come to define Pollock’s prodigious legacy.

    Jackson Pollock executed his first drip painting in 1947. Over the next two years he would hone this now instantly recognisable, signature technique, producing the monumental Autumn Rhythm (collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Number 1A, 1948 (collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Number 32 is one of a small number of more intimate 1949 paintings in which the artist more fully explored the subtleties of the drip technique. It was featured in the second of two shows that year at Betty Parsons Gallery about which Robert M. Coates wrote in the New Yorker: “They seem to me the best painting he has yet done.”

    Number 32 is one of a very limited group of 16 drip paintings Pollock created on paper mounted on masonite or canvas in 1949 and one of only eight that feature the aluminium paint that creates a lustrous shimmer around his elaborate gestural movements. Boasting a fully painted surface with intricate layers of dripped and poured oil the work has one of the most complete and richly covered surfaces of the entire series.


    Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

    Christie’s Post War and Contemporary art sale in London tonight realised £137.4 million.  This is the highest total for any sale of Post War and Contemporary art ever held in Europe.  The top lot was Andy Warhol’s Six Self Portraits which realised £22.6 million.  There were registered bidders from 36 countries across five continents and the aucton was 92% sold by lot and 96% sold by value.

    (See posts on for March 3 and February 12, 2018)

    Francis Bacon – Three Studies for a Portrait made £10 million.

    Jackson Pollock – Number 21, 1950 made £9.3 million.


    Thursday, November 12th, 2015

    An exceptional Cy Twombly blackboard painting made $70.5 million at Sotheby’s contemporary art sale in New York last night.  Untitled, New York City instantly  became the most expensive work sold at Sotheby’s worldwide in 2015.  A rare large-scale Mao by Andy Warhol made $47.5 million and works by Jackson Pollock, Lucio Fontana and Francis Bacon performed well. Combined with last week’s auctions of the Collection of A. Alfred Taubman, Sotheby’s contemporary art sales this season have so far totalled $434 million.

    Pollock’s No. 17, 1949 made $22.9 million; Fontana Concetto Spaziale, Attese, 1965 made $16.1 million; a portrait by Francis Bacon made $15.6 million;  an untitled Basquiat work from 198 made $8.3 million and Le Tissu Social, 1977 by  Jean Dubuffet made $7.1 million.

    (See post on for September 16, 2015)

    Cy Twomby's Untitled, New York City, 1968

    Cy Twomby’s Untitled, New York City, 1968

    Jackson Pollock - No. 17, 1949

    Jackson Pollock – No. 17, 1949