Old guard buyers and new bidders, largely from America, combined to set a number of new records at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale last night, buoyed by the marquee value of the late Michael Crichton’s name. Crichton’s collection of 31 pieces alone fetched $93.3 million, with one of Jasper Johns’s “Flag” paintings selling for $28.6 million, almost double its pre-sale estimate. It was a record for a Johns at auction, although private sales of his work have reportedly reached $100 million.
After the last Crichton sold bidders flocked from the gallery, but those who remained were enough to raise the evening’s tally to $231.9 million, $24.5 million above Christie’s high estimate. Another work by Johns sold for $5.3 million, and five active bidders caused a top Warhol, “Silver Liz” to reach a final price of $18.3 million, also above its estimate of $10-$15 million. “Gold was up today,” said Los Angeles billionaire and collector Eli Broad, who attended. “No one wants paper money – they want art.”
Read more at The New York Times.