Rothko and Neutra Sell Big at Christie's
The economy may be slumping but you wouldn't know that from the numbers being racked up at Christie's. The auction house rang in strong numbers on Tuesday night for their spring Contemporary Art Auction which my colleague, Jared Paul Stern mentioned earlier this month. The NY Times reports that there were often only a couple of bidders on each piece but the total haul of $348.2 million falls neatly between the low estimate of $282 million and the high of $398.6 million. The majority of the buyers were American but the Russians were also out in force. The top lot was Rothko's No. 15 which sold for $50.4 million. A similar Rothko is set to be auctioned off tonight at Sotheby's. Lucian Freud's painting Benefits Supervisor Sleeping brought in $33.6 million setting a new record for a Freud sold at auction and giving him back the record of being the living artist with the most expensive work sold at auction (Jeff Koons claimed the title last November).
Perhaps the most interesting lot was the one you can live in. The Kaufmann House, in Palm Springs, Calif., a classic Richard Neutra home sold for $16.8 million including commission. The mystery buyer also purchased a plot of land adjacent to the property for $2.1 million.
Gallery: Christie's Contemporary Art Auction