Christie’s £250 Million Sale Kicks Off Spring Auctions

Christie’s kicked off the spring auction circuit in style last week with an impressive £250 million sale held in both London and Shanghai. In total 95 lots out of 105 offered sold with works spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.

Notably, this was the first time that Christie’s has added a Shanghai component to their London mid-season evening sale. The Asia-Pacific region has grown increasingly influential in recent years, and this move is yet another demonstration of the buying power of Asian art enthusiasts.

According to ArtNews, bidding from Asian buyers helped drive up hammer prices especially for contemporary artists. For example, one tiny canvas by Victor Man entitled “D with Raven” was subject to frenzied bidding, eventually selling for £214,200 or almost ten times the pre-sale low estimate of £20,000.

In Shanghai the top seller overall was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 “Il Duce” which went for £11.2 million, but contemporary artists dominated with more impressive estimate-busting hammer prices. The 2017 “Debutante’s Ball” by Irish painter Genieve Figgis fetched £480,000 against an estimate of £95 million, while Emmanuel Taku’s 2015 “Ripped” achieved £190,000, almost 8 times the £24,000 estimate.