LONDON – Tonight's auction of Contemporary Art realised £123.5 million ($188.2 million), the highest-ever total for a Sotheby's sale of Contemporary Art in Europe. Two titans of contemporary art, Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon, dominated the evening, with Richter’s vibrant Abstraktes Bild from 1986 selling for £30.4 million ($46.3 million), establishing a new record for any living European artist.
GERHARD RICHTER'S CHROMATICALLY ASTOUNDING ABSTRAKTES BILD FROM 1986 SOLD FOR £30.4 MILLION ($46.3 MILLION), AN ARTIST RECORD.
A powerful self-portrait diptych by Francis Bacon sold for £14.7 million ($22.4 million), more than 41 times the price it achieved when it last appeared at auction, at Sotheby’s in 1993. The work is an extremely rare example from a series of profoundly introspective self-portraits Bacon conducted following the suicide of his lover George Dyer in 1971.
Among the other highlights was a previously unseen masterpiece by Lucio Fontana, which achieved a landmark price for any of his 'slash' paintings. Georg Baselitz's Hirte sold for £485,000 ($738,995), doubling the pre-sale high estimate and setting a record for a work on paper by the artist, and Jonas Wood's Studio Hallway sold for £365,000 ($556,151), establishing a record for the artist. Strong prices were achieved for rare works by David Hockney and Lucian Freud, two of Britain’s most sought-after artists.
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