2021 March Auction Results
March was an exciting month for auctions and online sales. And in this article, we want to highlight the most eye-opening results.
1. Beeple, "Everydays - The First 5000 Days", Christie's, $69.3 million
Christies made history by being the first big auction house to offer a purely digital artwork for sale. This work is a digital collage of 5000 pieces that cover a span of 5000 days, or 13.5 years. It was created by the Graphic Designer Mike Winkelmann, aka Beeple. Although not very well-known in traditional art circles before this auction, Beeple has worked with very prominent names such as Louis Vuitton, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. The two-week bidding for "Everydays - The First 5000 Days" started at $100. With around 180 bids in the last hour and 33 active contestants, it has sold for $69.3 million with fees. Based on price alone, thissale has positioned Beeple, along with Jeff Koons and David Hockney, as the third-highest auction price achieved for a living artist. Pretty impressive! This sale has also revived the technology underlying NFTs as a form of monetising digital artworks.
2. Jean-Michel Basquiat, "Warrior", Christie's Hong Kong, $41.9 million
Basquiat is one of the most admired artists nowadays, and his interest in the Asian art market has been booming. Christie's recognised this vibrant interest and offered "Warrior" for sale at Christie's Hong Kong. "Warrior" was sold for $41.9 million with fees after nine bids in total, above its estimate of $36 million. This is an incredible threshold to pass when it comes to Basquiat’s auction record! In 2012, "Warrior" was sold for £5.6m, which further strengthened the artist’s price trajectory. With just a 9-year difference, the same painting witnessed an almost sevenfold increase in price. This sale has placed "Warrior" in the top 10 Basquiat's most expensive artworks, just below "Flexible" (1984).
3. Banksy, "Game Changer", Christie's London, $23.1 million
In May 2020, "Game Changer" appeared at the University Hospital Southampton. This Banksy painting stands out because it is oil painted instead of stencil painted, making this offer even more significant. By paying tribute to National Health Service workers, "Game Changer" went for sale to raise funds for Southampton Hospital. It was sold for an incredible sum of $23.1 million - four times its high estimate of $4.8 million. It is also almost double the price of Banksy's previous oil painting, "Devolved Parliament", which sold for$13.6 million at Sotheby's in 2019.
4. Katsushika Hokusai, "Great Wave off Kanagawa", Christie's New York, $1.6 million
Hokusai, the Japanese printmaker that died in 1849, is still breaking records with his famous work "Great Wave off Kanagawa" (1831).It has now sold for an astonishing $1.6 million at Christie's New York.
Hokusai was fascinated by the movement of water and explored this subject several times throughout his career. The international success of "Great Wave" can be explained by the western culture influences on this particular print: the use of linear perspective and low horizon line. Its success also stands out from other prints from that period by representing a troubled landscape, as other representations would distance the subject from this type of disquiet scenery. After his death, Hokusai’s success skyrocketed in Europe. His prints were collected by artists such as Claude Monet and Edgar Degas and influenced many other artists' practice.
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