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More than $200 million sold on first night of New York fall auctions

·2-min read
The highlight of the auction was a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that sold for $40 million (AFP/Ed JONES)

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

In a sign of the vitality of the current art market, all forty lots found a buyer in the '21st Century' sale at the Christie's auction room in the Rockefeller Center, which was 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 connected real-time bidding rooms in London and Hong Kong, as well as online.

The auction's total sales were $219 million, with bidders registered from 27 countries, Christie's said.

The most anticipated piece was "Guilt of Gold Teeth" by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a 1982 painting on a large-scale canvas that went for $40 million.

The piece "depicts Baron Samedi, a spirit of Haitian Vodou 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 over $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, the holder of the record sale of an NFT (non-fungible token), sold for over $28.9 million.

Ten artists set new records for their top auction bids on Tuesday, while the sale of lots from 20th-century artists is slated for Thursday.

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