Another record-breaking contemporary art auction held at Christie’s, totals over $400 million

By Daniel S Levine,

The US government may be heading for a fiscal cliff, but nothing like that is going to stop the dizzying numbers coming from recent contemporary art sales. A day after Sotheby’s posted the highest total for a contemporary art sale, Christie’s one-upped it Wednesday night in New York.

Sotheby’s Tuesday sale held the record for only hours, when its contemporary art sale totalled $375 million. According to AMA, Christie’s Wednesday sale easily topped that. Pieces from Andy Warhol, Franz Kline and other important post-war artists went for a combined $412.3 million.

The big winner of the 67 pieces sold was Warhol’s Statue of Liberty from 1962, which went for $43.76 million, surpassing the auction house’s $35 million prediction, notes The New York Times.

Kline’s Untitled from 1957 went for $40.4 million. It was only estimated to go between $20 million and $30 million, but collectors have shown a newfound interest in the late painter, who died in 1962.

Unlike Sotheby’s, which focused on ‘contemporary’ works made several decades ago, Christie’s did bring in several more modern works, including Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1981 Untitled. That piece went for $26.4 million.

Jeff Koons continued to show that he is one of the world’s biggest-selling, currently working artists. His Tulips, a large sculpture that resembles Christmas decorations, went for $33.68 million.

According to Businessweek, that was a new record for Koons. His Balloon flower - Magenta previously held the record when it sold for $25.8 million in 2008.

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