Christie's Frieze Week Sale - London

Bloomberg has a good review of the recent Christie's Frieze Week evening art sale held in London.  I reported on the contemporary sale and results earlier this week.  The Bloomberg review gives some good analysis and also includes info on the 20th Century Italian art sale.  There were two sales, contemporary art followed by 20th century Italian art. The two sales totaled $61.15 million.  The Italian sale totaled $29.2 million against pre sale estimates of $22.43 million with a respectable 78% buy through rate.

The contemporary art sale totaled $30.74 million against a pre sale estimate of $25.1 million and a strong buy through rate of 86%.  The two sales more than doubled the value of the 2009 auctions.  25% of the lots selling went for above the catalogs high estimate, showing continued strength in the contemporary sector.

Bloomberg reports 
“The auction house managed to keep the estimates more realistic than June and there’s confidence among buyers,” the New York-based dealer Christophe van de Weghe said. “People really want to spend money on art again.”

Much presale attention had been focused on the 2006 Damien Hirst “butterfly” painting, “I am become death, shatterer of worlds.” The 17 foot (5 meter) abstract was estimated at as much as 3.5 million pounds, making it the most valuable work by the artist to have appeared at auction since 2008.

Featuring circular explosions of color inspired by nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer’s quotation from the Bhagavad Gita, it was being sold by a U.S. collector, Christie’s said.

Hirst ‘Butterfly’

On the night, it attracted little competition, selling to a telephone bidder for 2.2 million pounds, against a low estimate of 2.5 million pounds. Another Hirst butterfly work of the same size sold for 4.7 million pounds at Phillips de Pury & Co. in October 2007.

“We know that the market for Hirst is difficult,” van de Weghe said. “It’s positive that it sold, and $3 million is a lot of money for a painting.”
To read the full Bloomberg article, click HERE.

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