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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Christie's beats rival Sotheby's in mega week for auction houses

Christie’s sold $1.1bn in art this past week, while Sotheby’s moved $835m of art and jewels

'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' was sold on 15 November for $90.3m at the auction. EPA
'Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)' was sold on 15 November for $90.3m at the auction. EPA

Christie’s beat out rival Sotheby’s in a billion-dollar week for both auction houses, thanks in part to eight-figure sales by bold-faced artists.

Christie’s sold $1.1 billion (Dh4.04bn) in art this past week, while Sotheby’s moved $835 million of art, plus more in jewelry and watches, according to press releases from both companies.

The Christie’s haul was padded by the $90.3m sale of David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) - who eclipsed Jeff Koons as the most expensive living artist to sell at an auction. A new record for American art was also set by the company with the $92m sale of Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey.

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Billionaire currency trader Joe Lewis was the seller of the Hockney. The Hopper came from the collection of deceased businessman Barney Ebsworth. The buyers were not disclosed.

The highlight at Sotheby’s was the sale of a pearl and diamond necklace once owned by Marie Antoinette. The jewels sold for $36.2m. The auction house said it’s had a 15 per cent increase over last year in sales of impressionist, modern and contemporary works.

Phillips, a smaller auction house, announced $88.5m of sales, with works from Joan Miro, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat bringing in the largest sums.