LiveArt After Action Report: Christie's London-to-Paris Sale

A white-glove Chagall sale helped Christie's post strong results for Monet, Ernie Barnes, Barbara Hepworth and many more artists.


Christie’s held three sales in one Evening to bring together more than the European market by bridging London-to-Paris. The sales also tried to bring together a range of different collecting categories into a single three-part event that would create enough critical mass to generate, by the auction house’s count, 3 million views of its livestream. At the same time, the sales were able to ring up strong prices for such varied artists as Ernie Barnes, Claude Monet, Marc Chagall, Rene Magritte, Barbara Hepworth, Yves Klein, Leonora Carrington, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucy Bull, Rachel Jones and Jeff Koons.

The Stats:  The sales totaled £203,881,403, according to Christie’s. That’s $250,162,481 in dollars. Altogether 92% of the lots were sold:

 

  • Christie’s says bidders came from 35 countries. The buyers broke down by lot with 48% from Europe, the Middle East and Africa;  29% from the Americas; and 23% from Asia, the Pacific Islands. 

  • The Marc Chagall sale was 100% sold at £9.7 million or $11.9 million. The average lot value was $593,927. Of the 20 lots sold, 18 made prices above the estimates. That’s 90%.

  • The Paris portion of the sale totaled €14.69 million or $15.4 million. The average lot value was $735,000. Of the 26 lots offered, 21 sold. That’s 80%. Only 4 of the 21 made prices above the high estimate. Another 12 or about 57% sold within the estimate range. Five of the lots were sacrificed at prices below the estimates. 

  • London accounted for £180,973,400 in sales or $187,607,208. The average London lot cost $3.4 million. Of the 62 lots offered, 54 were sold for a 81% sell-through rate. A full 24% of the lots made prices above the estimates in London. Another 50% of the lots sold for prices within estimates. Almost 26% had to be sacrificed for prices below the estimates. 

Barbara Hepworth, Hollow Form with White Interior (1963) £5.78 million

Barbara Hepworth, Hollow Form with White Interior (1963) £5.78 million


The artists: Chagall was the unexpected star of the day. Christie’s held a sale before the sale featuring the first set of works from the estate—the dates range from 1944 to 1984—which will be followed by additional sales in the future. These works had the right estimates to attract the right collectors. According to Christie’s, there were an average of seven bidders on each lot.

 

  • In Paris, the artists who out-performed with not necessarily the biggest rockstars. Jean Hélion, Serge Poliakoff, Nicolas de Staël and Wifredo Lam were the artists that incited the most competition. 

  • In London, Antony Gormley continued to drive passionate bidding. Lynn Chadwick, Michel Majerus, Rebecca Warren, Simone Leigh, Joel Mesler and Robert Indiana got bid above the estimates. 

  • Three women saw stronger bidding than that. They were Anna Weyant, Rachel Jones and Lucy Bull. Each of these artists has seen bigger sales. In many ways, these numbers for less spectacular works are a sign that demand remains deep for their work. 

  • Ernie Barnes’s Main Street Pool Hall is now the third highest price paid for the artist this year. The $1.8 million sale  falls just behind the two works sold at Christie’s in May. Christie’s also owns this market having achieved 8 of the top 10 prices so far. 

  • One of the surprises of the sale was a 1962 work by Rene Magritte that sold for $19.7 million. It made a price that was 2.76 times the estimate. The work previously sold for $4.2 million five years ago. Five years before that, it made a price only slightly lower at $3.4 million which shows the appreciation in Magritte’s market over the last half decade. 

  • Another work we can track across three sales to today’s auction is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (Self-Portrait). In November of 1999, the work was sold in New York for $255,500. Nineteen years later, the work made $5.14 million in London. That’s a 20-fold gain fewer than 20 years. It only took another four years for the work to double in value again as it sold today for $9.76 million. 

  • Leonora Carrington set her fourth highest price when Ferret Race (Stoat Race) from 1952 sold for $1.67 million. 

  • Barbara Hepworth’s record price was virtually tied when Hollow Form with White Interior sold for $7.098 million. The previous high price was set just a little more than a year before when Parent II was sold for $7.11 million. 

  • There were two works by Claude Monet that coincidentally made the exact same price of £30 million or $36.88 million.

  • Yves Klein’s Anthropométrie de l’epoque bleue (ANT 124) was the third highest priced work in the sale cycle at £27 million or $33.3 million. 
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