Edward Hopper, Chop Suey, 1929. Courtesy of Christie’s.
Willem de Kooning, Woman as Landscape, 1954–55. Courtesy of Christie’s.
Jackson Pollock, Composition with Red Strokes, 1950. Courtesy of Christie’s.
- Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey (1929) had some auction specialists speculating before the sale that a duel between mega-collectors of American art could push the bidding past the high estimate of $100 million. Christie’s global president Jussi Pylkkänen was the auctioneer for the evening, and opened at $45 million. Deputy chairman Eric Widing and post-war and contemporary department chairman Loïc Gouzer traded bids on behalf of buyers on the phone, going back and forth in increments of $5 million and then $2 million. Gouzer’s bidder offered $85 million, and Widing, who worked closely with Ebsworth during his lifetime to acquire work for his collection, eventually shook his head, indicating he was out. Gouzer’s client claimed the work at a $85 million hammer, or $91.9 million with fees.
- Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape (1954–55) hammered right above the work’s low estimate of $60 million after a curious move by post-war and contemporary department chairman Alex Rotter. He already had the winning bid of $60 million when he told Pylkkänen that he had another totally separate bidder coming in on his phone, at $61 million. It hammered there, coming to $68.9 million with fees, the highest price paid for a work by de Kooning at auction. Several de Kooning works have traded privately for much higher, however, including Interchange (1955), which the founder of $30 billion hedge fund Citadel, Kenneth Griffin, purchased from David Geffen for $300 million in 2016.
- Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes (1950) was nabbed by dealer Doris Ammann, who was sitting in the front row, for $49 million at the hammer, just below its $50 million pre-sale estimate. The final price with fees was $55.4 million. Just a few lots earlier, Ammann beat out Gouzer to score
Arshile Gorky, Good Afternoon Mrs. Lincoln, 1944. Courtesy of Christie’s.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the Otterness Sculpture hammered at $1.2 million; the sculpture hammered at $1.25 million. Additionally, the work was purchased by Pyms Gallery, not Acquavella Galleries. The text has been updated to reflect these changes.
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