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Warhol’s paintings of Elvis, Brando help Christie’s set a new auction record

Andy Warhol’s 'Triple Elvis.'Andy Warhol’s 'Triple Elvis.'
Andy Warhol’s 'Triple Elvis.'Courtesy of Christie's

Christie’s contemporary art sale hit an all-time high Wednesday night, led by the nearly $82 million sale of Andy Warhol’s “Triple Elvis.”

The auction house pulled in a total of $852.9 million in one night — it’s highest total ever, according to Christie’s. The sum surpassed pre-sale estimates of $836 million.

“Tonight’s result is a testimony to the depth of interest in art across the globe, and to the talent of the Christie’s team,” said Steven Murphy, Christie’s CEO.

The auction house offered an impressive lineup of 80 works in total, 22 of which were expected to sell for over $10 million, and nine set to fetch more than $20 million each.

The top sales went to Warhol’s “Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)” and “Four Marlons,” selling above pre-sale estimates for $82 million and $69.6 million, respectively. Neither work beat the artist’s all-time high of $104.5 million, which was paid at Sotheby’s last year for “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster).”

Cy Twombly’s untitled blackboard painting attracted a high volume of bidding attention and eventually sold for $69.6 million, well above its expected high of $55 million.

Bidders from around the world come out for the sale, which Christie’s had touted as an event with once-in-a-lifetime pieces. Some of the biggest U.S. collectors showed up, including Michael Ovitz, a former Hollywood agent, J. Tomilson Hill, the vice chairman of Blackstone Group and Andrew Saul, a New York businessman, reported the New York Times.

The sale far surpassed the sale at Sotheby’s (BID) on Tuesday that pulled in $343.6 million. While the Sotheby’s lineup was smaller in terms of valuations, and included 78 lots, the total for the sale event came in well below its high pre-sale estimate of $418.6 million.