With 280,000 people tuned in from all over the world, other notable lots included works by Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning
October 12, 2020: Global auction house Christie’s innovative 20th Century Evening Sale live streamed on October 6 from New York’s Rockefeller Center, realised US$340,851,500 (including buyer’s premium), selling 96 per cent by value and 84 per cent by lot.
Around 280,000 people were digitally a part of this highly anticipated spectacle, through Christie’s official website and social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and WeChat, along with registered bidders on Christie's LIVE online bidding platform.
Comprising 59 quality works, the top lot of the Evening sale was Cy Twombly’s Untitled [Bolsena] (1969), one of a series of 14 paintings — known today as the ‘Bolsena’ series — inspired by the Apollo 11 space mission. The painting features scattered and scorched black lines over cool overlays of white paint, evoking the rocket’s movement upwards. Appearing for the first time at an auction, the painting was sold at $38,685,000.
Among the second and third highest selling paintings were the works of Mark Rothko and Pablo Picasso. Rothko’s Untitled (1967) vibrant painting realised $31,275,000 and Picasso’s Femme dans un fauteuil (1941), depicting his then-muse and lover Dora Maar, sold for $29,557,500.
A remarkable record was created for a watercolour work. Paul Cézanne’s Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier was offered from the collection of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, which was its home for 80 years. The painting was sold at $28,650,000. Willem de Kooning’s Woman (Green) realised $23,260,000 while Emil Nolde’s Herbstmeer XVI created a world record for the artist by getting sold at $7,344,500. Ruth Asawa’s lyrical wire sculpture and Takashi Murakami’s fusion sculpture Oval Buddha Silver were among some of the many significant lots of the sale.
STAN, one of the most impressive and complete T-Rexes ever found, was the closing lot of the evening sale. Described as ‘one of the best specimens ever found’ by James Hyslop, Head of Christie’s Science & Natural History department, the fossil skeleton of the male Tyrannosaurus Rex was sold at a record-breaking price of $31,847,500.
The three-day October season concluded with an online sale of Robert Motherwell prints of Dedalus Foundation, an initiative founded in 1981 by the artist to protect his legacy. The sale of 37 works collectively raised $212,625 that went to the non-profit organisation.