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Feeling the Valentine’s Day love at Christie’s Post-War Sale

February 14, 2012

Lot 39 - Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945) Die Frauen der Antike (The Woman of Antiquity) oil, shellac, emulsion, sand, ashes and pastel on photographic paper laid down on paper 110½ x 75in. (280.5 x 190.5cm.) Painted in 1999-2000. Estimate: £600,000 - £800,000 ($947,400 - $1,263,200). Hammer price: £600,000, Final price inclusive of buyer's premium: £713,250 ($1,126,222).

Drama at Christie’s Evening sale of post-War and contemporary art in London began during the pre-sale announcements when the audience was told that one of the top lots, an 1955 untitled work by Mark Rothko with an “Estimate on Request” (reportedly £9-12 million), was withdrawn from the sale.  Francis Bacon’s 1963 Portrait of Henrietta Moraes, the other “Estimate on Request” painting (in the region of £18 million), crept slowly from it’s opening bid of £12 million to a final hammer price of £19 million, though the auctioneer did say midway through that he could sell the picture at £14.5 million.  Bidding for lot 25, a large luscious 1994 blue-green Abstraktes Bild by Gerhard Richter, began with the auctioneer announcing that 12 phone lines of bidders were open.  Bidding opened at  £3 million, and moved slowly enough at first for the auctioneer to say he could see it at £4 million, before finally moving along to a hammer price of £8.8 million. All told, 59 of the 65 lots offered were sold, a decent evening. The Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Crow tweets from the auction included this choice one: “36 min into @ChristiesInc sale, Marc Glimcher of @ThePaceGallery leaves, saying, “I’m bored.” (read: Mkt ok.)”

Top five lots – UPDATED. Here ‘s a link to the complete sale results, about which Christie’s tweeted: “The #PWCevesale realised a total of £80.6m / $126.5m / € 96.1m selling 89% by lot and 95% by value.” That final number includes the buyer’s premiums.

Here’s Bloomberg’s coverage of the sale.

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