TLP: The Rich Like Pretty Pictures. Expensive, Pretty Pictures.
Image: Scott Campbell
When last we left the rich, just before Tax Day, they were having quite a time trying to decide how to spend their money in this economy. How to choose between shinier jewels, bigger yachts or faster jets? It was all very good news.
In case you were worried, the rich are still OK. Witness the madness at Sotheby's and Christie's this week. Carol Vogel brings down the gavel in the NYT:
Classic American images — a Warhol self-portrait, a Rothko red canvas and a Pollock painting rich with the artist’s sinewy drips — blew the lid off Sotheby’s sale of contemporary art on Wednesday night.The typical practice at these auctions is to keep the buyers anonymous. You know, because it's not polite to talk about who has that kind of money laying around.
“Buying was totally global,” Tobias Meyer, head of Sotheby’s contemporary art department and the evening’s auctioneer, said after the sale. “There were many new collectors who came into the market tonight.”
Many of those bidders helped push the sale beyond Sotheby’s expectations. Of the 53 works on offer, only three failed to sell. The auction totaled $190 million, above the $168 million high estimate. The sale offered a commercial selection of work by blue-chip artists, and prices were strong throughout the evening.
All eyes were on the 1986 Andy Warhol “Self Portrait,” which sold for $32.6 million, well above its $15 million high estimate. That and the Mark Rothko canvas each brought more than Jasper Johns’s “Flag” from the much-publicized estate of the best-selling writer Michael Crichton, which fetched $29.6 million at Christie’s on Tuesday night. Christie’s however, did better over all in its postwar and contemporary sale, with a total of $231.9 million.