Recently a Christie\’s art sale became the highest auction in history. The sale included works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat, among others and in total generated $495 million. The sale established 16 new world auction records, with nine works selling for more than $10m (£6.6m) and 23 for more than $5m (£3.2m). Christie\’s said the record breaking sales reflected \»a new era in the art market\».
The top lot of Wednesday\’s sale was Pollock\’s drip painting Number 19, 1948, which fetched $58.4m (£38.3m) – nearly twice its pre-sale estimate.
Lichtenstein\’s Woman with Flowered Hat sold for $56.1 million, while another Basquiat work, Dustheads (top of article), went for $48.8 million.
All three works set the highest prices ever fetched for the artists at auction. Christie\’s described the $495,021,500 total – which included commissions – as \»staggering\». Only four of the 70 lots on offer went unsold.
In addition, a 1968 oil painting by Gerhard Richter has set a new record for the highest auction price achieved by a living artist. Richter\’s photo-painting Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan) sold for $37.1 million (£24.4 million). Sotheby\’s described Domplatz, Mailand, which depicts a cityscape painted in a style that suggests a blurred photograph, as a \»masterpiece of 20th Century art\» and the \»epitome\» of the artist\’s 1960s photo-painting canon. Don Bryant, founder of Napa Valley\’s Bryant Family Vineyard and the painting\’s new owner, said the work \»just knocks me over\».