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Cy Twombly Leads Christie's $107.5m '21st Century Evening Sale' in New York

3 min read  · 08 Nov 2023

Untitled (Bacchus 1st Version II) by Cy Twombly sold for $19.96m. Image courtesy of Christie's

A work by Cy Twombly, which had a guarantee, was the headline sale at Christie's '21st Century Evening Sale' Auction on November 7 in New York.

  • The sale totaled $107.5m, meeting the pre-sale estimate.

Snapshot of the sale

  • 39 works sold totaling $107.5m.

  • Estimates totaled: $99.54m (low) and $143.7m (high), excluding premiums.

  • The sell-through rate was 91% of the original 43 lots announced.

The star lot was: Cy Twombly, Untitled (Bacchus 1st Version II) (2004), which sold for $19.96m, 10% above its $18m low estimate. The work was backed by a guarantee. It has been traded once in the past.

The outperformer sold for 375% above its low estimate. Jenna Gribbon, Regarding Me Regarding You and Me (2020), sold for $478,800 ($100,000 low estimate). It has been traded twice in the past.

The talking point was Jia Aili, Combustion (2016), which sold for $4.77m, 375% above its $1m low estimate. It has not been traded before.

Breakdown of results against auction house estimates that are disclosed

18 works, or 46%, sold above their high estimate.

16 works, or 41%, sold within their low and high estimate.

5 works, or 13%, sold below their low estimate.

0 sold with undisclosed estimates.

Guaranteed sales

12 works were backed by guarantees, including: Cy Twombly, Untitled (Bacchus 1st Version II) (2004). It sold for $19.96m, 10% above its $18m low estimate. It has been traded once in the past.

Works that did not sell

2 works were bought-in, including: John Currin, Nice 'n Easy (1999), estimated at $7m (low) to $10m (high). It has been traded 7 times in the past.

Withdrawn before the sale

2 works were withdrawn before the sale, including: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude (1983) estimated at $3.5m (low) to $4.5m (high).

Terms and definitions

All results include the fees and premiums added to the price of a work of art when the auctioneer's hammer falls. Sale prices are compared to the auction house’s low estimate, which do not include premiums.

Guarantees: Sometimes an auction house guarantees to pay a seller for a work, regardless of whether the bidding reaches the reserve price, a figure that is typically confidential.

Bought-in: If there are no bids for a work, or if bidding falls short of the reserve price, the lot is unsold or “bought-in”.

Withdrawn: This happens when a seller decides, for whatever reason, to withdraw a work before the bidding begins.

Premiums: Typically a sliding-scale of charges paid in addition to the hammer price by the buyer, plus any other fees.


Cy Twombly

New York