Art Continues to Buck Ragged Economy

Contemporary works bring $348M at Christie's—which even sells a house
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2008 2:21 PM CDT
"Benefits Supervisor Sleeping," by British artist Lucian Freud, sold for $33.6 million at Christie's in New York.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Christie's auction of contemporary art in New York belied an economic downturn, the Times reports, with paintings, sculpture, and even a house fetching handsome prices. Two works drew particular attention: a portrait of a 280-pound nude woman by Lucian Freud, which sold for $33.6 million, and a house in Palm Springs by Richard Neutra, which fetched $16.8 million.

The most expensive lot of the night was a Mark Rothko that hit $50 million, but artists from Francis Bacon to Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons brought big bank. Most of the collectors in the Rockefeller Center showroom were Americans, although the auction house also reported a strong Russian presence. "The market is defying gravity," said mega-collector Eli Broad. (Read more art market stories.)