Clyfford Still works sold for $114M to fund museum
Record $61.7M US for single abstract work by artist
A work by abstract artist Clyfford Still being sold to fund a museum in his name fetched an artist's record of $61.7 million US at auction Wednesday in New York.
His painting 1949-A-No 1, featuring white splashes over red and white, was one of four works by the reclusive U.S. artist on offer at Sotheby’s sale of contemporary art.
The four pieces, including 1947-Y-No 2, raised a total of $114 million for Denver's Clyfford Still museum. The previous record for a Still was $21.3 million, set in 2006.
A leading figure in abstract expressionism, Still was a contemporary of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. He died in 1980, leaving most of his work to a museum in his name and closing off access to both collectors and scholars until that museum should open.
That museum, to open in Denver in a week’s time, sold off the four works to help pay the cost of the new building. Denver agreed to host the museum in 2004.
The New York art sales have recovered from a laggard beginning, with the Sotheby’s sale of contemporary art raising $315.8 million.
"The sale blew every expectation away," said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's worldwide head of contemporary art.
Christie's New York achieved a sale total of $247.6 million at its contemporary art auction.
Other notable sales this week:
- $20.8 million for the Gerhard Richter abstract 849-3.
- $19.7 million for Three Studies for a Self-Portrait by British artist Francis Bacon.
- $43 million for And There’s Nobody In It by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.