New York About halfway through the evening auction “20th Century” at Christie’s, the otherwise well-tempered hall was transformed into an arena for a few minutes. Ernie Barnes’ 1976 picture The Sugar Shack, which drew lines at the former pro athlete’s retrospective in Los Angeles three years ago, was its turn. A nearly identical first version of the sensuous dancers from 1970 with the overly long limbs typical of Barnes was made famous by a TV show, among other things.
Auctioneer Adrien Meyer announced that 22 telephone bidders were interested. But they didn’t come into play at all. Hedge fund manager Bill Perkins immediately shouted “$600,000!” from the back row. A few seats away, Dane Jensen, a Los Angeles representative for art consulting firm Gurr Jones, countered with $700,000 on behalf of his client.
The men dueled for almost eleven minutes, 8.5 million! 10 million! Appreciated every now and then. Jensen’s client finally gave up at $12.5 million net. The painting, valued at just $150,000 by Christie’s, costs Perkins $15.3 million.
Christie’s third evening auction this week produced outstanding results on Thursday. Among 55 lots on offer, covering Impressionism, Modernism, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, only Georgia O’Keeffe’s unusual painting of a sunflower fell short. It was estimated at 6 to 8 million dollars.
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The rare complete skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur (Deinonychus Antirrhopus) from the early Cretaceous period, which was added a few days ago, also found four applicants. An Asian buyer doubled expectations here at 12.4 million dollars including premium.
Overall, the evening contributed $831.3 million to Christie’s weekly ongoing earnings, which — with daily auctions pending — add up to $1.25 billion so far.
The recording of important “Americana” has also proven its worth. Just think of the manuscript of the American constitution that was auctioned off at Sotheby’s in the fall. Christie’s now offered Emanuel Leutze’s history painting Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) with a very illustrious exhibition history.
From 1979 to 2014, the historic picture even hung in the White House in Washington, DC. Four bidders raised it from at least an expected $15 million to $45 million.
The evening began with twelve market-fresh rarities from the New York apartment of investor and philanthropist Anne Bass, ex-wife of Texas oil billionaire Sid Bass, who died in 2020. This key American sale of the season alone brought in $363.1 million.
Edgar Degas’ famous sculpture “Petite danseuse de quatorze ans” (wax model c. 1879-1881, cast 1927), offered as one of the earliest privately owned casts, at $41.6 million renewed the best price, which had stood at 15.8 since June 2015 million pounds ($24.8 million).
Bass had been interested in the Dane Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) from an early age. 1900’s Stue (Interior with an Oval Mirror) also set a record at $6.3 million. Estimated at $1.5 to $2.5 million, the painting was acquired by an Asian collection.
Three major paintings by Claude Monet from the Bass Collection brought in $168.9 million alone. The late London view “Le Parlement, soleil couchant” (1900-1903) was particularly fascinating here. In addition to seven telephones, the dealer David Nahmad also applied for the painting in the hall. Only at $ 76 million was it referred to a telephone bidder. The estimate was between 40 and 60 million dollars.
“Price levels at the top end of the market are very strong,” said Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman 20th and 21st Century Art.
More: Christie’s in New York Andy Warhol’s Marilyn: The hammer fell after just five minutes