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Contemporary Art is Red Hot!
Posted by TK on 12/21/2007 6:25:22 PM (ET)
Filed Under: General
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The contemporary art boom continues to climb, as exemplified by recent auction records at both Sotheby’s and Christies.

Of the 50 contemporary artists included in a recent Christie’s sale, more than half broke records. Pop artist Andy Warhol’s painting entitled “Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car 1)” obliterated his previous sale record of $17.4 million (for “Chairman Mao”) when it sold for $71.7 million, more than twice its estimate of $25-$30 million. The same sale saw Warhol’s “Lemon Marilyn” fetching a price of $28 million and a self portrait realizing a final price of $8.2 million.

Another indicator of the red hot contemporary market is the sale of Mark Rothko’s 1950 White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) at Sotheby’s for an astounding $73 million. This splendid canvas, made up of blocks of pure color currently holds the record price for post-war art. Sotheby’s took $316 million from its Post War and Contemporary Art sale in November – the highest one-day total in its 263-year history, allying fears that the contemporary art market was faultering.

Hot on Rothko’s and Warhol’s heels are Jeff Koons and controversial British artist Damien Hirst. Hirst’s work, Lullaby Winter, pharmaceutical pills set in a frame against a metallic background, sold for $7.4 million, double its estimate. Jeff Koons’s eye-catching Hanging Heart, fetched $23.5 million, achieving a new auction record for a living artist.

These unprecedented amounts confirm the explosion of demand for contemporary art, predominantly fuelled by a wealth of Russian, Indian, Korean and Chinese collectors.

"The market wasn't just hungry, it was ravenous," said Christie's honorary chairman Christopher Burge of the feeding frenzy.

"This boom has been going on for three or four years and it’s getting stronger and stronger," says Daniel Morris of Corfield Morris - an independent company advising art and antique collectors, as quoted on the BBC.

Jeff Koons, Hanging Heart (magenta & gold)
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