East Meets West: A 109-Year-Old Franz Marc Piece is the Big Winner at Christie’s London-Shanghai Auction - Arts & Culture

In total, the transcontinental auction made $334 Million in sales.

Every year Christie’s holds a spring evening sale in its native London. For the 2021 installment, they added a spin by including an auction in Shanghai on the same night.

Titled “20/21 Shanghai to London,” the March 1 event consisted of three segments: a 20th/21st century Shanghai evening sale, a 20th/21st century London evening sale, and the Art of the Surreal evening sale.

READ ALSO: Not Done Yet: A Collaboration Between The Late Virgil Abloh And Takashi Murakami Is Among 7 Records Broken During This March Auction

Since 2013, Christie’s has been present in the Chinese market; however, the pandemic halted holding events on the ground. Nevertheless, Asian buyers still contributed 40 percent of London sales, according to Giovanna Bertazzoni, vice-chair of Christie’s 20th/21st-century department.

“We believe in Asia, and these two art hubs, London and Shanghai,” Bertazzoni told Artnet.

Intercontinental sale

The auction that lasted five hours between three sales and two continents brought in $334 Million in sales—the highest total Christie’s has seen for an event staged outside London.

A highlight at the event was Franz Marc’s The Foxes painting from 1913. A phone bidder took home the work for $57 million ($10.2 million more than its estimated cost). Other top lots included paintings by Lucian Freud for Girl With Closed Eyes ($20.2 million) and Francis Bacon’s Triptych ($51.3 million).

Bittersweet week 

Asian works also did well with Zao Wou-Ki’s painting Le Soir à l’Hôtel du being sold for $3.9 million to a bidder in Hong Kong. At the same time, Chinese artist Huang Yuxing’s Mandala Reality sold for $826,387. 

In total, 110 works were up for bids. Despite 20/21 Shanghai to London’s success, Bertazzoni says it was a “difficult week,” and the team was working with “heavy hearts” given the situation in Ukraine. “But at the same time, we are all lucky to have a job and be in a place that is safe,” she added. 

Last week, Christie’s announced that they’re donating to the UN Refugee Agency along with support to Red Cross. They said that both NGOs provide needed humanitarian aid to war victims in Ukraine, focusing on essentials like food, water, and shelter. 

Banner photo from @leendertdevoogd on Instagram.

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