May 9 - Sales of paintings like a 1961 Mark Rothko, which went for $87 million helped drive Christie's blockbuster contemporary art sale to the highest ever total for post-war art. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The bidding was intense at Christie's as prices soared into the stratosphere. Total take for the evening- including commission- $388 million dollars- well above forecasts and the highest ever total for post-war art. Koji Inoue is the head of evening sales at Christie's: SOUNDBITE : KOJI INOUE, SPECIALIST, HEAD OF EVENING SALES AT CHRISTIE'S NEW YORK, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "That was phenomenal. Something unprecedented. The highest contemporary (art) sale ever. The bidding was broad as we had predicted with objects of such rarity, such quality in abstract expression -- with the Rothko and the Pollock and the Newman, the opportunity was unstoppable." Determined bidders drove prices for many top priced works well beyond their high estimates. This 1961 Mark Rothko "Orange, Red, Yellow" - which had once been in the Philadelphia Museum, brought in $87 million. And Jackson Pollack's "Number 28, 1951" fetched $23 million with the commission- more than double the artist's record. SOUNDBITE : KOJI INOUE, SPECIALIST, HEAD OF EVENING SALES AT CHRISTIE'S NEW YORK, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's something that is unprecedented as well. In 1951 proper dripped canvas. Something like this has not come to market in over 20 years. When truly rare quality works come into market collectors respond. And it got it to do as a new world record at auction, I am very proud." The appetite for contemporary art remains healthy- and those still hungry for more will get their chance again when Sotheby's holds its auction later in the week. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.