Christie’s highly anticipated Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on May 8 totaled $388.5 million (£240.9 million/ €299.1 million), marking the highest total ever in auction history for the category. Record after record fell throughout the night, as bidders from around the world convened in the saleroom to compete for the sale’s exceptional roster of works by the top artists of the category, including Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Yves Klein, Richard Diebenkorn, Barnett Newman, and Willem de Kooning, among others. Fourteen new auction records were established, as well as a new record for the most expensive Post-War and Contemporary work sold at auction. The sale was 99% sold by value and 95% sold by lot.
“This was an historic event in the auction world, with three major records set in the space of a few short hours: a record for any Post-War and Contemporary art sale at $388.5 million, a record for any private collection of Post-War and Contemporary Art at $174.9 million for the Pincus Collection, and a new record for the most expensive work of the period, with Rothko’s Orange, Red, Yellow sold for $86.9 million,” said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art. “This was truly a season of icons, with the best works by Rothko, Newman, Richter, Pollock, Calder and Klein to come to market in many years. To see so many major records established in one evening was a tribute to the exceptional works on offer this season.”