Auction house sells over $200 million on first night of fall art auctions, led by Basquiat’s work at the height of his powers for $40 million

The highlight of the auction was a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat which sold for $40 million.

New York (AFP) – Christie’s first in-person auction in New York since the pandemic began fetched more than $200 million on Tuesday night, with paintings by Basquiat and Banksy going under the hammer.

A sign of the vitality of the current art market, all forty lots found buyers during the “21st Century” sale at Christie’s Rockefeller Center auction room, open to the public for the first time since March 2020.

But it took place in a hybrid format, where it was possible to bid physically from New York or auction houses connected in real time in London and Hong Kong, as well as online.

Total sales from the auction were $219 million, with registered bidders from 27 countries, Christie’s said.

The most anticipated piece was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Guilt of Gold Teeth,” a 1982 painting on a large-scale canvas that cost $40 million.

The piece “depicts Baron Samedi, a Haitian voodoo spirit and leader of the Gede” and was “created at the peak of the artist’s career,” the auction house said.

“Flash in Naples”, another piece by the New York artist who died aged 27 in 1988, sold for more than $19.8 million, exceeding its high estimate.

Scotsman Peter Doig’s 1990 painting “Swamped” sold for more than $39.8 million, a record for the artist.

Two paintings by British street artist Banksy, ‘Sunflowers from Petrol Station’ and ‘Monkey Detonator’, sold for $14.5 million and $2.19 million respectively.

“HUMAN ONE”, the first hybrid physical and digital work by American artist Beeple, holder of the record sale of an NFT (non-fungible token), has sold for more than 28.9 million dollars.

Ten artists set new records for their highest bids on Tuesday, while the sale of lots by 20th-century artists is scheduled for Thursday.