A contemporary art auction in London that featured work by Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol pulled in a total of $146 million. The auction was benefited by wealthy collectors from emerging economies who demonstrated great interest in the contemporary works. Young up-and-coming artists also did very well at the auction. Of the 57 lots, only 10 were left unsold.
German artist Gerhard Richter's abstract painting "Wand" – which translates to "Wall" in English – sold for $28.6 million, nearly $4 million more than estimated. The painting is an eight-foot square canvas of red and blue produced in 1994. This was the first time the piece had been on the market, after being shown in multiple museum exhibitions while remaining in the artist's personal collection. The 82-year-old artist's popularity was boosted by a career retrospective at the Tate Modern in 2011 as well as a documentary called "Gerhard Richter Painting" that was released in the same year.
A painting by American artist Cy Twombly sold for $20 million, a record high for the artist. The painting, "Untitled (Rome)", measures about 7 feet by 8 feet and features the artist's signature abstract scribbles and loops. This was another piece hitting the market for the first time.
The famous artist who rose to prominence during the Pop Art movement of the 1960s had one of his Mao series paintings sell at the auction for $12.4 million. This was nearly 20 times the selling price of its last auction appearance in 2000. The painting is one of a series done by the artist after Nixon visited China in the 1970s. It uses a combination of silkscreen and painting techniques to render the communist leader in a funky, garish style.
Several young new artists were featured in the London auction as well. A piece titled "Two Sides of the Same Coin" by Lucien Smith was expected to sell for a maximum of $98,500. It ended up being sold for $369,123. Smith wasn't the only one to exceed expectations. Oscar Murillo and Wayne Guyton each had works outsell their pre-auction estimates.
Contemporary art has seen somewhat of a resurgence in popularity over the last few years. Art collectors looking to expand their holdings can check out the available lots of auctions around the world at iCollector.com.