Christie’s set a record on Tuesday night in New York by selling $745 million worth of post-war and contemporary art. Renowned auction house sold more than 10 works worth over $20 million, including Barnett Newman’s “Black Fire I” and Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards” that broke the $80 million mark. Apart from the two top lots, four more fetched over $50 million, and 63 lots fetched more than $1 million with deep-pocketed collectors from 35 countries bidding for the most coveted works of art. Of the 72 lots offered, 94 percent sold and only four works failed to find buyers, Christie’s said.
The top lot, Newman’s 1961 abstract canvas that until recently was on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, fetched $84.14 million, almost doubling the artist’s previous auction record of $43.8 million set just a year ago. Bacon’s triptych depicting his longtime companion in twisted poses, sold for $80.8 million. Mark Rothko’s 8 1/2-foot-tall 1952 canvas layered with purple and orange hues sold for $66.2 million against an estimated range of $40 million to $60 million.
The latest auction total surpassed November’s record sale of $691.6 million and last May’s total of $495 million for post-war and contemporary art.