Jackson Pollock and the richest art sale in auction history

Sat, May 18, 2013, 02:00

Christie’s New York sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on Wednesday achieved $495 million (€386 million), the highest total in auction history. The auction house described the result as “staggering”.

Some of the paintings were sold by the estate of the singer Andy Williams, who died last year.

The sale established 16 new world auction records, selling nine works for more than $10 million, 23 for more than $5 million and 59 for more than $1 million. The top lot was Number 19, 1948 , an abstract “drip painting” by the American artist Jackson Pollock, which made $58.3 million, well above its estimate of $25-$35 million and a new auction record for the artist. Woman With Flowered Hat (1963), by Roy Lichtenstein made $56.1 million and Dustheads (1982) by Jean-Michel Basquiat made $48.8 million, also a world record for the artist.

The only major casualty of the evening was a 1981 painting by Dublin-born artist Francis Bacon, Study For A Portrait’ [of George Dyer], estimated at $18-$25 million, which failed to sell.

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