With film crews and a sleek studio, Christie’s London’s $ 88million evening sale felt like a TV show – thankfully buyers were tuned in.

Christie’s 20th and 21st Century Art Evening Sale in London has now shown signs of a return to normal in the market. This grossed a total of £ 64.6million ($ 88.3million) from 40 lots, within the pre-sale estimate of £ 45.6million to £ 65.4million sterling ($ 62.7 million to $ 90 million). But the auction itself, the London house first major sale in person with returning bidders in the room, was a surreal experience.

On the one hand, the “evening sale” took place at 2 p.m. UK time, while Christie’s tilted to catch bidders in Hong Kong after dinner and New Yorkers at the breakfast table. (The move paid off like only three lots were ultimately awarded to one of the 100 bidders present in the room.)

In in the aftermath of the switch to online selling during lockdown, the auction room also became a nifty studio operation. The cameramen counted the guests and the auctioneer of the first half of the sale, the world president of the house, Jussi Pylkkänen, encouraged the bidders in the room to “bid well” for the good of the cameras. A security guard hung a sparkling Cartier bracelet at the head of the house’s late-night post-war and contemporary art auction, Tessa Lord.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Because it hurts the lungs (1986). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd, 2021.

Frieze Week sales started yesterday when Sotheby’s raised $ 90 million, supported by a new Banksy record for the artist’s infamous shredded work and fierce competition for young artists, stoking hopes that the London auction market will reborn after a long period of foreclosure. The house grossed a slightly higher amount of £ 64.5million ($ 88.8million) for its contemporary sale, which included eight post-war Italian masterpieces as part of its sale at the “Thinking Italian” auction.

Christie’s claimed its profit today was up 18% from the evening sale of contemporary art last October and is in accordance with the results of the equivalent sale in 2019, which also grossed £ 64.5million ($ 79.6million). (Unless otherwise noted, selling prices include buyer’s premium; estimates do not.)

Today’s event sold 90 percent by lot and 92 percent by value. Among the 40 lots offered (a 2012 work by Rudolf Stingel was withdrawn before the sale), four did not find a buyer. Fourteen carried either by internal guarantees or by third parties.

Katharine Arnold, head of the house’s post-war and contemporary art in Europe, told an after-sales press meeting that the result showed that “we have judged the season right.” She noted that there was a 50 percent increase in the number of bidders under 40 compared to last year.

“This tells us that young people are actively coming to sales and auctions and that Asia was very much online tonight,” said Arnold. Some 35 percent of the registered bidders were from Asia (and bidders there seized the works of George Condo and a Yayoi Kusama via specialist Elaine Kwok in Hong Kong).

Hurvin Anderson, <i>Hearing</i> (1998).  Courtesy of Christie’s Images LTD.  2021. “width =” 1024 “height =” 715 “srcset =” https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/10/Lot-9-Anderson-1024×715.jpg 1024w, https: / /news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/10/Lot-9-Anderson-300×210.jpg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/10/Lot- 9-Anderson-50×35.jpg 50w “sizes =” (max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px “/></p>
<p class=Hurvin Anderson, Hearing(1998). Courtesy of Christie’s Images LTD. 2021.

The top lot of the evening was the painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat from 1986 Because it hurts the lungs. He grossed £ 7million ($ 9.6million) from a bidder represented by Alex Rotter in New York City, at his low estimate. With fees, the price was £ 8.2million ($ 11.2million). It is believed to have been donated by Indonesian collector and museum founder MACAN Haryonto Adikoesoemo. It was last sold at Phillips New York in 2001 for $ 1.8 million.

Perhaps the most exciting sale of the evening was the work of Hurvin Anderson in 1998 Hearing. The paint, which was guaranteed in-house ahead of the sale, reached £ 6.2million ($ 8.5million) from a high pre-sale estimate of £ 1.5million ($ 2million) . With fees ($ 10.1m), that’s more than double the British artist’s previous auction record of £ 2.6m ($ 3.5m), achieved in 2017 at Christie’s London, according to the Artnet price database.

After rocky bids from at least five bidders in the room, competing with buyers over the phone for nearly 11 minutes, it was finally secured by a bidder in the United States via specialist Jennifer Wright, vice president of the house. and director of customer relations in New York. .

Other lots of note include a collection of three NFTs, a Bored Ape Yacht Club edition and two Mutant Ape Yacht Clubs, estimated between £ 800,000 and £ 1.2 million ($ 1.1 to 1.6 million) . It was the first time that the house offered a DTV in Europe, and the lot hammered its low estimate to a bidder in the room, who was identified by art market writer Melanie Gerlis as Kosta Kantchev, co-founder of cryptobank Nexo Finance, which owns an NFT fund.

Many observers were closely following the performance of a Banksy diptych featuring the artist’s iconic Girl with balloon. Banksy’s booming market landed the five biggest sellers at auction in the first semester of this year. But this little diptych, which carried a third-party guarantee, hammered its low estimate of £ 2.5million ($ 3.4million).

Hilary Pecis, <i>Kaba on a chair</i> (2019).  Courtesy of Christie’s Images LTD.  2021. “width =” 827 “height =” 1024 “srcset =” https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/10/Lot-5A-Pecis-827×1024.jpg 827w, https: / /news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/10/Lot-5A-Pecis-242×300.jpg 242w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/10/Lot- 5A-Pecis-40×50.jpg 40w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2021/10/Lot-5A-Pecis-1551×1920.jpg 1551w “sizes =” (max-width: 827px) 100vw, 827px “/></p>
<p class=Hilaire Pécis, Kaba on a chair (2019). Courtesy of Christie’s Images LTD. 2021.

Tessa Lord remarked after the sale that she was “thrilled” with the results, which were particularly strong for women artists. Cecily Brown’s 2019 abstraction There will be bluebirds hammered to £ 2.9million ($ 3.9million) against a top pre-sale estimate of £ 700,000 ($ 963,000). It was donated by the artist and his gallery Thomas Dane, with the proceeds going to ClientEarth.

There have also been tenders for the two works by Yayoi Kusama (both carrying third-party guarantees and hammered above their high estimates), and Bridget Riley’s Halcyon 2, formerly owned by the late Bermuda-based collector Robin Judah, which was secured in-house and hammered just above its high estimate of £ 2.15million ($ 2.96million) via Katharine Arnold.

Less present was the strong demand for the next generation of auction stars that we expect from the evening sales. While rising star Emily Mae Smith saw a good result for one of her works, hammering in at £ 95,000 ($ 130,000), nearly five times her low estimate of £ 20,000 (via specialist Barrett White in New York), there was a somewhat disappointing result for 2017 from Julie Curtiss Hairy hat, who hammered his high estimate of £ 200,000 ($ 275,000) to an absent bidder.

There was a notable sale for an artwork by rising market star Hilary Pecis, including the 2019 artwork Kaba on a chair hammered to £ 180,000 ($ 247,000) via Swiss specialist Garrett Landolt (raised to £ 225,000 / $ 307,575 with fees), making it his second highest auction price to date. (His record stands at £ 340,300 ($ 468,724) set at Sotheby’s London Sale of the Day in July.)

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