NEW YORK.-The Tuesday auction brought in a total $157.4 million at Christies. The top work was Mark Rothkos "Homage to Matisse." It was purchased by an anonymous telephone bidder for $22.4 million. This was one of the favorite works of the artist. He stood in front of it at his wedding.
The two day sales of Post-War and Contemporary Art continued in the same upbeat mood that characterized yesterday's stunning $157 million evening sale. The Morning Session totaled $37,647,600 and was 94% sold by value and 86% by lot. The Afternoon Session realized $17,002,000 and was 92% sold by value and 87% by lot. Both day sales performed stronger than last season, emphasizing again the depth and health of the market. The Morning Session's top lot was Andy Warhol's Woman in Blue (After Matisse) which sold for $1,248,000 while the Afternoon Session showed a soft spot for Jean-Michel Basquiat whose work appeared 4 times in the list of the top-10 prices of the sale.
Property from the Collection of Lee V. Eastman, which includes an unprecedented group of paintings, drawings and sculpture by Willem de Kooning, as well as key works by other major artists ranging from Giacometti, Matisse and Picasso to Rothko, Motherwell and Kline, were presented by Christies New York during the evening sales of Impressionist and Modern Art on November 1 and Post-War and Contemporary Art on November 8.
The New York School, led by de Kooning and Pollock and further shaped by artists such as Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline and Philip Guston, was crucial in shifting the capital of the art world from Paris to New York after the 1940s. By revolutionizing a pictorial language that had previously been completely defined by European Modernism and the work of Picasso and Braque, they developed a new style which was driven by the vitality and intensity of New Yorks unique spirit. Carefully assembled over the last thirty years and representing key artists of European Modernism as well as Abstract Expressionism, Property from the Collection of Lee V. Eastman brilliantly reflects the creative energy that connected two of the most important movements in art history.
The group of de Kooning works collected by Lee Eastman is the most important selection of works by the artist ever to have appeared at auction. The works span the artists career from 1944 until 1977.