Richter 'Candle,' Gormley 'Angel' Blow Away Auction Records

  • October 16, 2011 20:15

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Gerhard Richter, Candle, Kerze, 1982. 83 cm x 62 cm. Oil on canvas.
The 78.5-inch model for 'Angel of the North' by Antony Gormley sold for a record $5.3 milllion at Christie's on Oct. 14.

Christie's in London posted a promising October sale of Postwar & Contemporary Art with a total of £38 million ($60 million) on Friday. World record auction prices were smashed for artists Gerhard Richter (b. 1932), Antony Gormley (b. 1950), and Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997). The big-ticket sales helped fuel a renewed confidence in the art market during a week of skittish buying when $500 million worth of art was offered at London auctions and the Frieze Art Fair.

From a Scandinavian collection, Richter's 1982 “Kerze” (Candle) fetched 10.5 million pounds ($16.6 million) with fees, exceeding its hammer estimate of 6 million pounds to 9 million pounds. The previous record auction price for the artist was 8 million pounds.

The sale was well-timed with a Richter retrospective currently on view at the Tate Modern.

At the exhibition's recent press preview, Cologne-based Richter mused about his work's current price status: “It's just as absurd as the banking crisis."

A 1996 life-size cast-iron maquette for “The Angel of the North,” a sculpture by the U.K.'s Gormley, was another highlight, selling for 3.4 million pounds ($5.3 million) from an estimate of 1.5 million pounds to 2 million pounds.

The model is one of five versions for Gormley's 60-foot "Angel of the North" in Gateshead, overlooking the A1 motorway.

Kippenberger's sculpture,  Untitled, 1990, flew beyond its estimate of 250,000 - 350,000 pounds to bring 1.3 million pounds ($2 million).


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