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Christie’s contemporary art sale is biggest auction in history

The record-breaking sale's top lot was Jackson Pollock's 'Number 19,1948,' one of his seminal drip paintings.

The spring auctions ended on a record-shattering high on Wednesday as Christie’s contemporary art sale achieved the highest total – $495 million – in the history of art auctions.

Artists’ records fell one after another,led by Jackson Pollock,Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat,whose works each soared to anywhere from $49 million to $58 million.

Only four of the 70 lots on offer,or 6 percent,went unsold as the auction took in a whopping $495,021,500 including commission,easily beating even the high pre-sale estimate.

“We are in a new era of the art market,” said Jussi Pylkkanen,president and chairman of Christie’s Europe,who also served as auctioneer.

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“There is global competition that we have never seen in the art world before,” he added.

The record-breaking sale’s top lot was Pollock’s “Number 19,1948,” one of the artist’s seminal drip paintings,which fetched $58.4 million,or nearly twice the pre-sale estimate.

Lichtenstein’s “Woman with Flowered Hat,” which was expected to sell in excess of $30 million,instead soared to $56.1 million,while Basquiat’s “Dustheads” went for $48.8 million. All three works set new records for the blue-chip artists.

First published on: 16-05-2013 at 12:54 IST
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