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

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

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Withdrawn before the sale

2 works were withdrawn before the sale, including: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Reclining Nude (1983) estimated at $3.5m (low) to $4.5m (high).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