One of ’s
famous Campbell’s Soup can paintings, Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)
(1962), which the house expected to return in excess of $25 million, sold quickly for $27.5 million with the buyer’s premium, or $26 million without, after just a few bids, climbing in million-dollar increments, from the starting price of $22 million. The only one of this series with a can opener, and the first in the series of 11 at this large scale, it last sold in 2010 for $23.8 million.
Warhol’s Last Supper (1986), by contrast, had a feistier night, running all the way up to $16.5 million ($18.7 million with the buyer’s premium) from a starting bid of $4.5 million, and coming in at nearly three times the low estimate of $6 million.
Twenty-five of the sale’s lots came from the collection of Emily and Jerry Spiegel, New York arts patrons and early supporters of artists like
. The collection, which passed into the hands of the couple’s two daughters, was fought over by Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and smaller rival Phillips. One daughter, Pamela Sanders, chose Christie’s to sell more than 100 of her works, Bloomberg reported
. The other daughter, Lise Spiegel Wilks, gave Sotheby’s a prize Basquiat for a guarantee of at least $60 million, according to the Bloomberg
Across the Wednesday night sale, 55 lots sold for over $1 million, and 11 of those went for $10 million or above.
Four artists notched new records at auction:
(1986), which sold for $583,500;
(1985) at $5.2 million;
for his massive portrait Untitled (After Sam)
(2006), at $10.5 million; and
for Untitled (S III Released to France Face 43.14)
(2011), which went at the high end of its estimate at $16.7 million.
hit a new record for a gelatin silver print, achieving $2.1 million on an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000 for Portrait of a Tearful Woman
Younger artists had a fairly strong night. Bidding for ’s I Refuse to be Invisible
(2010) sold for $2.2 million at the hammer (or $2.6 million with the buyer’s premium), above its high estimate of $2 million, and ’s
(2014) sold for a within-estimate $3.3 million. However, ’s SP302
(2014) failed to find a bidder.
Christie’s reported total art sales in 2016 of $5.4 billion, down for the second straight year from 2014’s high of $8.4 billion. The majority, $4.4 billion, came through public auction sales, and the rest through private sales ($935.5 million) and online sales ($67.1 million). Overall sales in the global art market were estimated at slightly under $57 billion in 2016.