Christie’s stumbled at its modern sale last week, but last night the big buyers were waving paddles and big money changed hands for Contemporary art such as Lichtenstein’s depiction of a man looking through a peep hole, announcing: “I Can See the Whole Room! … and There’s Nobody In It!” Nobody but Guy Bennett, a New York dealer, who bought it for $43.2m. Christie’s total for the evening was $247.6m.
The New York Times reported the evening got off to a “roaring start” when 26 works from Silicon Valley magnate Peter Simon’s collection opened the show with prices for every thing topping expectations. Later, two iconic Warhol’s also sold: “Silver Liz” went for $16.3m, and “Four Campbell’s Soup Cans” went to a phone bidder for $9.8m. A Christie’s spokesman summed up the night by saying those attending were “serious collectors, not new-world buyers.”