Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art summer auctions total £109,700,850


Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary (detail)

Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art auctions in London resulted in a combined total of £109,700,850 / $172,134,688 / €154,090,265. A highlight of the week was the record achieved for Chris Ofili’s Holy Virgin Mary (1996), one of the defining paintings of the 1990s generation.

Christie’s said the successes of the Evening and Day Auctions demonstrated an appetite for the highest quality work by the most exciting contemporary artists, alongside the classics of the category, from bidders around the world, and created eight new artist records across the week’s auctions.

Francis Outred, chairman and head of Post-War & Contemporary Art in Europe, Middle East, Russia and India, commented: “Following the huge successes in New York for Christie’s in May, this year’s June auction in London marked the culmination of one for the most remarkable seasons in the contemporary art market. The proliferation of events from Venice to Basel means that the competition is higher than ever in the summer, not only between collectors themselves but also for their attention in a busy market.

“In this environment, the strong performance of Francis Bacon against estimates, at Christie’s, was notable as were the strong sell-through rates and the world record prices for the major post-war British artists, including the very first Turner Prize winner Malcolm Morley, whose record virtually doubled.”

Outred added that there was also a huge amount of interest in the diversity of material from Jean Dubuffet to RH Quaytman.

“I was particularly proud that we were able to steer Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Maryto her new home.  This work helped to define a key generation of artists in the 1990s and I am glad that the market responded so positively to its presence in 2015.”