November 11, 2015
NEW YORK (AFP) - A Lucian Freud portrait of the ex-husband of Britain's Duchess of Cornwall, Andrew Parker Bowles, sold for $34.89 million in New York on Tuesday, Christie's said.
The giant oil painting smashed its pre-sale estimate of $30 million. The British artist created it between 2003-04, shortly before Camilla married the Prince of Wales, her longtime lover.
Called simply "The Brigadier" in honor of Parker-Bowles' career in the British Army, it was the runner-up lot in the evening sale of post-war and contemporary art at Christie's.
Top lot was "Four Marilyns" a silkscreen acrylic painted by US pop art genius Andy Warhol in 1962 and sold for $36 million.
The evening netted $331.8 million in sales and set new auction records for seven artists, including Italian 20th century painter Lucio Fontana and French-American artist Louise Bourgeois.
Fontana's "Concetto spaziale, La fine di Dio" -- a yellow egg slashed in the canvas -- sold for $29.17 million and Bourgeois' giant "Spider" sculpture for $28.17 million, the auction house said.
"Untitled" -- an installation by Cuban-American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres comprising small, individually wrapped green candies -- sold for $7.67 million, Christie's said.
It set a world auction record for Gonzalez-Torres. The total weight of the candies are 50 pounds (22.7 kilos), representing the weight of his partner just before he died of an AIDS-related illness.
It was created in 1991, the year his partner died. Christie's says the work "evokes the fragility of life and the artist's remarkable talent for creating joy in a moment of sorrow."
Bidders from 39 countries took part in the sale, with a very strong showing from Asia competing against demand from Europe and America.
It came one day after Christie's sold a sensuous nude by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani for $170.4 million, making it the second most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.
It was purchased by taxi driver turned billionaire Liu Yiqian, one of China's biggest art collectors, who founded two museums in Shanghai.