David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972. Courtesy of Christie’s.
Christie’s top lots
Mark Rothko, Untitled (Rust, Blacks on Plum), 1962. Courtesy of Christie’s.
Richcard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #137, 1985. Courtesy of Christie’s.
- Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972) was long expected to be the night’s most expensive work, but it took a while to get there. Following Barrett White’s $55 million bid just a minute into the action, all the floor bidders were priced out, and the tempo slowed considerably. Marc Porter bid $60 million, Loïc Gouzer bid $65 million, and when Porter bested him with $70 million, a hush set in across the saleroom. But then Katherine Arnold came in at $71 million and she and Porter traded bids at increasingly low intervals. Arnold’s client was much slower to return the volley than Porter’s and eventually bowed out once Porter got to $80 million. The sum was exactly the work’s low estimate (estimates do not include buyer’s premium fees) and, with Porter’s bid, Pylkkänen exclaimed with some relief, “We got there!” His hammer fell seconds later when no further interest came forward. With fees, the price was $90.3 million.
- Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Rust, Blacks on Plum) (1962) went to a bidder in the room for a $32 million hammer. Unlike the rowdy start of the bidding on the Hockney, the action surrounding the Rothko was more sedate—in line with the trend this week of thin bidding for works estimated in the eight figures or above. As a result, despite coming with the impripture of the de Menil family, who commissioned works that would end up in the Rothko Chapel, the Rothko’s price missed its $35 million low estimate; the total was $35.7 million with fees.
Robert Colescott, Cultural Exchange, 1987. Courtesy of Christie’s.
- More than 10 bidders vied for the night’s opening lot, a
Phillips top lots
Joan Miró, Femme dans la nuit, 1945. Courtesy of Phillips.
- A from 1982 hammered at $7.7 million, or $9 million with fees, to the client on the phone with Miety Heiden; her’s was the only bid on the lot. The price was significantly below its low estimate of $9 million but still ahead of the reserve, somehow.
Andy Warhol, Gun, 1981-82. Courtesy of Phillips.
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