Hello all, last week I was able to cover the very high-end art auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s on a press assignment for Aljazeera.
Pretty heady stuff. There was great buzz in the room, especially on Tuesday night, when the German artists Gerhard Richter broke the record for most expensive living European artists sold at auction ($47 million).
Works by Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, and Cy Twombly were among those that set the pace at the post-war and contemporary art sales hosted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
The highest priced lot took place on Tuesday when Richter’s Abstraktes Bildsurprised the packed auction room on Bond Street with aggressive phone bids coming in at 2 million British pound increments ($3.1m).
The final sale price of 30.4 million pounds ($46.8m) established a new auction record by a living European artist.
The anonymous bidder, reported to be an American, was represented by Sotheby’s worldwide co-head of contemporary art, Cheyenne Westphal. I think I can genuinely say it went to someone who truly wanted this painting, and he was set on buying it tonight,” Westphal said, noting Richter also happened to be her favourite artist.
A sister painting of the large abstract work was sold by Eric Clapton in 2012 for a then-record of 21 million pounds ($32m).
The artwork, which measures 3 x 2.5 metres draped with jagged lines of reds and greens, was last sold on auction at Sotheby’s in 1999 for $607,500, generating a return of 32.4 percent annually.
“Richter is not hot all of a sudden, he has always been sought after,” said Arianne Levene Piper, founder of the New Art World consultancy.
“There are plenty of ultra-high net worth collectors who are willing to pay for top works. This explains why a great painting by a great artist will sell for high prices at auction.”
Story in full located here
I don’t know what to make of these Clouds by Richter either. Nevertheless… £5 million, anyone?