PE Ledger

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Christie’s Modern Art Sales Reach $751.9 Million

Christie’s Modern Art Sales Reach $751.9 Million ‘You Won’t Be able to Find Another One Anytime Soon.’

Following the start of the fall auction season in New York on Tuesday, Christie’s held back-to-back sales of modern art and works from the late Texas oil magnate Edwin L. Cox’s collection on Thursday, bringing in a total of $751.9 million.

The two sales had a combined sell-through rate of 95 per cent, with 77 of the 81 lots offered finding buyers. Nearly half of the auction lots had financial backing, and 34 works from the auction had been guaranteed.

The Cox collection considerably exceeded its $178.6 million targets, bringing in a total of $332 million. Similarly, the evening sale of 20th-century art surpassed its low estimate of $324.3 million, taking in $419.9 million.

On Thursday, Christie’s auctioneer Adrien Meyer stepped to the rostrum to conduct the first part of the night’s two-part auction, the results of which had the audience buzzing. He handed the gavel to veteran auctioneer Jussi Pylkkänen, who would lead the second part of the auction.

Due to interest in the Cox collection’s long-held Impressionist pieces, Thursday’s two-pronged 3.5-hour-long event saw more passionate participation among the crowd and professionals than Tuesday’s relatively subdued modern art evening auction. Many of the prized artworks have not been seen in public in over 50 years.

In the Cox Collection, Van Gogh shines brightly.

Van Gogh’s Cabanes de bois parmi les oliviers et cyprès (Wooden Huts Among Olive Trees and Cypress Trees), a landscape painting from 1889 with a set of olive trees, received the highest price from the Cox collection.

The work was estimated to earn $40 million, but nine bids from New York, London, and Hong Kong pushed the hammer price up to a whopping $62 million. It was sold to a bidder in the room for $71 million in the end.

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