Auc­tion record shat­tered in min­utes with Ba­con’s ‘Freud’

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - BY ULA ILNYTZKY

NEW YORK Records are meant to be bro­ken, and they were with re­mark­able speed at Christie’s auc­tion house Tues­day night.

In just six min­utes, bids shot up to $142.4 mil­lion for a Fran­cis Ba­con trip­tych, mak­ing it the most ex­pen­sive work of art ever sold at auc­tion. World auc­tion records also were set for 10 artists.

“The de­mand for sem­i­nal works by his­tor­i­cal im­por­tant artists is truly un­ques­tion­able, and we will keep wit­ness­ing new records be­ing bro­ken,” said Michael Frahm, a con­tem­po­rary art ad­viser and part­ner at the Lon­don-based Frahm Ltd. “This is the ul­ti­mate tro­phy hunt­ing.”

The at­mos­phere at the stand­ing-room-only sale of post­war and con­tem­po­rary art was elec­tric as a hand­ful of col­lec­tors vied for Ba­con’s 1967 “Three Stud­ies of Lu­cian Freud.” Bid­ding rapidly soared above the nearly $120 mil­lion paid for Ed­vard Munch’s “The Scream” at a Sotheby’s sale last year, re­plac­ing the iconic work as the most ex­pen­sive art­work sold at auc­tion. The price in­cluded the buyer’s pre­mium. Christie’s said the win­ning bid went to Ac­qua­vella Gal­leries. It is be­lieved that the Man­hat­tan gallery was buy­ing it for an uniden­ti­fied client.

One of the un­der­bid­ders, Hong Gyu Shin, an art dealer with a gallery in lower Man­hat­tan, told re­porters he loved the work and wanted to buy it for him­self.

Another mar­quee work, which broke a world auc­tion record for a liv­ing artist, was Jeff Koons’ “Bal­loon Dog (Or­ange).” The 10-foot-tall stain­less steel sculp­ture of what looks like a child’s twisted party bal­loon sold for $58.4 mil­lion to an anony­mous tele­phone bid­der. It was sold by newsprint mag­nate Peter Brant to ben­e­fit his Brant Foun­da­tion Art Study in Green­wich, Conn.

It is one of five Koons bal­loon dogs ex­e­cuted in dif­fer­ent col­ors. All are in pri­vate hands.

On Tues­day, Christie’s sold Willem de Koon­ing’s 1977 “Un­ti­tled VIII,” for more than $32 mil­lion, es­tab­lish­ing a world auc­tion record for the artist.

“This is sim­ply another proof of the huge amount of liq­uid­ity pumped into the world econ­omy,” said Richard Feigen, an art dealer and col­lec­tor whose Man­hat­tan gallery, Richard L. Feigen & Co., has works span­ning from the 14th cen­tury to con­tem­po­rary art. “The money has nowhere to go. The in­ter­est rates are so low that it gets laun­dered through the real es­tate, and to a lesser de­gree, art mar­kets.”

Tro­phy hunters and buy­ers from Asia, the Mid­dle East and Rus­sia play big roles in the con­tem­po­rary art mar­ket, Mr. Feigen said.

Christie’s said Tues­day’s sale brought in more than $691.5 mil­lion, the high­est to­tal for any sin­gle auc­tion in his­tory.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.