Cy Twombly, Leda and the Swan, 1962.

Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Art Evening Sale Rakes in $448.1 Million

At Christie’s postwar and contemporary art evening sale at Rockefeller Center in New York Wednesday night, the auction house netted $448.1 million, selling sixty-eight of its seventy-one lots. The sell-through rate by lot was 96 percent and the sale almost reached its high estimate of $462 million.

Dealer Larry Gagosian outbid other interested parties for Cy Twombly’s Leda and the Swan, 1962, the hot-ticket item of the night, which he acquired for $52.9 million. Other highlights included Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Portrait, 1963, which was bought by French collector Francis Lombrail for $51.8 million (the portrait was the first Bacon made of his lover George Dyer, a petty thief from London’s East End); Jean-Michel Basquiat’s La Hara, 1981, which sold for $31 million, exceeding its estimate of $22 to $28 million; and Andy Warhol’s Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable), 1962, which went for $25 million.

“If we needed proof of the strength of the art market, we have it, and if we needed proof of the strength of Christie’s, we have it,” said Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti at the press conference after the sale.