Christie’s has announced a new auction titled ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century, a novel event featuring major works of modern and contemporary art and design to be auctioned across Christie’s international headquarters in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong, scheduled to take place on July 10th.
In a response to the sweeping global shift to online collecting felt across the market as the coronavirus pandemic maintains office closures, the auction house is taking a new approach to the gala evening sale as the line between digital and live sales blur. In a major market shakeup, the event will replace the previously scheduled New York 20th Century Evening sale slated for the week of 22 June announced in April, marking a new adjustment to the marquee auction week.
In a statement announcing the move, Christie’s confirmed “the new format aims to create an adaptable, inclusive and engaging selling platform to present important works of art to global bidders.” The spectacle will take place in real time across the four sale sites, offering artworks in a series of four separate consecutive sessions lead by each region’s chief auctioneer, which will kick-off in Hong Kong.
Alex Rotter, Christie’s Chairman of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York noted the dramatic move as a response to the fast-changing market landscape under the current global pandemic. “Christie’s is reconfiguring how we engage with objects and the way that we present them to both dedicated collectors and the world at large. With our virtual and physical worlds rapidly merging, we felt that it was vital that we meet this new reality with an innovative platform. And so it begins, we begin again, with ONE” says Rotter.
With economic uncertainty looming and a fragile market to navigate, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips have each experimented with various auction formats, from themed sales to single-lot showcases in order to spark engagement with massive client bases amid a market lull. “This hybrid-format concept sale is a way to adapt and innovate. Crossing borders, we will offer a broad range of categories from international artists spanning the 20th Century, exploring different regional points of view and perspectives to create one vision” says Giovanna Bertazzoni, Christie’s Co-Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art added. In recognition of international collecting trends, Bertazzoni adds the sale is in line with the expanding cross-continental methods of art collecting among the firm’s clients.
“Collectors increasingly view the art market from a global perspective” says Evelyn Lin, Deputy Chairman, International Director and Head Asia’s Modern and Contemporary Art department.
The news comes with the announcement of a set of works by modern and contemporary artists leading each sale section, which together carry a collective pre-sale estimate of $85 million. In New York, Pablo Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (version ‘F’) from 1955 estimated at around $25 million, hailing from the artist’s famed series of fifteen paintings based on Eugène Delacroix’s work of the same title. Another major work from the series Version O, brought Picasso’s current record price of $179M set at a Christie’s evening sale in 2015. The star lot has been in the storied private collections of Sally and Victor Ganz and Daniel and the Saidenberg collection, the longtime American dealer of Picasso. The July 10th sale will be the first time the work has come to auction.
Among the other top lots set to debut in the New York section includes Roy Lichtenstein’s monumental 1994 Nude with Joyous Painting carrying an estimate of $30 million consigned from a private American collection. The work represents the seminal Pop Art era style and a late Lichtenstein nude completed before the artist’s death in 1997. The sale will also mark Nude with Joyous Painting’s auction debut.
Another postwar mainstay, Ed Ruscha’s Annie from 1962 will also lead the New York sale, estimated between $20-30 million. Standing at nearly six feet tall, the large-scale canvas is an early example of his signature style of slogans juxtaposed on landscape backgrounds.
And in the opening portion of the sweeping auction series, set to debut in the Hong Kong open is Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki’s red Hurricane Period masterpiece 21.10.63 estimated at $10 million. And like its global counterparts, this sale will mark 21.10.63’s first appearance on the auction block. Across global sale sites, but especially in Hong Kong, Zao Wou-Ki has brought in new records, with his monumental triptych selling for $65.2M in a Sotheby’s Hong Kong evening in November 2018 that established a new record for the artist.
Coinciding with the Olympic-scale sale program, each city will stage a public exhibition of highlights in accordance with regional restrictions. In line with the expansion of the investment in digital strategy among the top auction houses, the public showcase will also be accompanied by a virtual campaign with further details still to be confirmed.