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Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup Sells For $11.7 Million

NEW YORK.- Last night’s sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art totaled $143,187,200, the second highest total for a sale in the field. Twelve new world auction records were set and the sale was 91% sold by lot and 88% by value. The highlight of the evening was Andy Warhol’s Small Torn Campbell Soup Can (Pepper Pot), 1962, from the Collection of Irving Blum, which realized $11,776,000 and set a world auction record for a painting of the Campbell Soup Can series. A group of pieces by Donald Judd, sold by the Judd Foundation to create an endowment, realized $24,468,800. Buyers in tonight’s sale were 70% American, 19% European and 11% Asian.

“There was sustained interest and enthusiasm throughout tonight’s exciting sale from the excellent results of the Judd Collection right through to the end,” said Christopher Burge, Honorary Chairman of Christie's Americas and the auctioneer of the sale. “There continues to be great desire among a broad base of international collectors to own works in this growing field as Christie’s staged its second highest totaling evening sale in history. The audience for Warhol continues to be strong, as well as for Abstract Expressionism, with the works on paper in the sale also realizing new levels. Christie's continues to break new ground in both the presentation and the results in this field.”

Donald Judd, one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th century, was represented with a group of 26 works, sold by the Judd Foundation to create an endowment. The works were exhibited in a specially designed space on the 20th floor of 1230 Avenue of the Americas, at Rockefeller Center, in a show that was hailed by a major newspaper as ‘the most beautiful survey of Judd’s work ever seen in New York,’ and that attracted over 6,000 visitors. Tonight, the group realized $24,468,800, with 25 of the 26 works sold. “This milestone within the journey toward financial stability was made possible not only by the commitment of our Board but also by the collaboration with Christie’s who were willing to work within our special parameters to present an exhibition and sale that were truly cultural events,” said Rainer Judd, President of the Judd Foundation. Three pieces fetched $2,704,000, the second highest price ever achieved by Judd at auction: the seminal 1993 six part plywood and Plexiglas wall-piece, Untitled (93-1 Ballantine); Untitled (92-7 Hernandez), six units with Plexiglas, executed in 1992 and Untitled, 1990 (90-14 Bernstein). Other highlights included Untitled (DSS #230), (70-13 Bernstein), 1970 ($ 2,032,000); Untitled (74-20 Bernstein), 1974 ($1,920,000) and Untitled (89-3 Menziken), 1989 ($968,000).

The top lot of the evening was Andy Warhol’s Small Torn Campbell Soup Can (Pepper Pot), 1962, which sold for $11,776,000 and set a world auction record for a painting from the Campbell Soup Can series. Apart from being a spectacular example of Warhol’s famed ‘portraits’ of Campbell Soup Cans, the painting came with a stellar provenance: the collection of Irving Blum, the visionary director of Ferus Gallery who gave Andy Warhol his first show. The present painting registers the passage of time and conveys a preoccupation with degradation, exuding destruction and frailty. Overall, the Warhol market proved to be strong tonight with high prices fetched for all Warhol paintings offered. . 

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