This sales total falls in the middle of the $ 129-183.7 million pre-sale estimate, with 66 out of 76 lots selling.

Although it fell a little short of last year's results, the sale was still impressive with 36 lots selling for more than one million dollars. A hit on the night was Francis Bacon's Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer, 1967 which sold to a telephone bidder for $19 108 067.

christies_1_6 Francis Bacon, Study for Head of Isabel Rawsthorne and George Dyer, 1967
Image via Christie's

Two Men Working in a Field, the second of Bacon's in the sale, sold to Russian dealer Gary Tatintsian for $16 823 603.

Alexander Calder's Trois cercles, bleu, jaune, rouge (Three Circles, Blue, Yellow, Red) from the collection of Lord and Lady Jacobs sold for $719 387.

A surprise on the night, was the amount of unsold Gerhard Richter lots. With only one Richter selling, Seestuck (Oliv bewolkt) (Seascape with Olive Clouds), for $2 413 907. Christie's chairman and international head of Post-War and Contemporary art commented on these darker works by Richter: ''Not where the market is strongest. New buyers prefer more decorative, more colorful works."

YBAs Jenny Saville, Damien Hirst, the Chapman brothers and Chris Ofili all raised the bar, with some breaking auction records for their works.

Saville's Matrix, 1999, a nude of a transvestite sold for $1 227 743. Another controversial piece, Jake and Dinos Chapman's Great Deeds Against the Dead, 1999 was sold to White Cube's Jay Jopling for a record-breaking price of $662 903.

Damien Hirst's colossal motor-powered piece Beautiful mis-shapen purity clashing excitedly outwards painting,1999, comprised was snapped up for $851 183.

1200x-1 Chris Ofili,The Holy Virgin Mary, 1996
Image via Christie's

The real star of the YBAs of the night was Turner prize winning artist Chris Ofili, whose piece The Holy Virgin Mary sold for $4 522 643. The piece had famously shut down the Brooklyn Museum in 1998 following the controversy surrounding it being on display there. Read Christie's to sell Chris Ofili's controversial dung painting.

Search Christie's on Barnebys here.

Comment