This file photo taken on November 4, 2016 shows a Christie’s official in front of “Untitled XXV” by Willem de Kooning in New York during a press preview. Picture: DON EMMERT/AFP
This file photo taken on November 4, 2016 shows a Christie’s official in front of “Untitled XXV” by Willem de Kooning in New York during a press preview. Picture: DON EMMERT/AFP

New York — Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XXV was sold late at Christie’s in New York for $66.3m, a record for a work by the abstract artist and for post-war contemporary art.

The imposing work, which measures 2m by 2.2m, was painted by the Dutch-American artist in 1977 and is emblematic of the energetic, multicolor brush strokes he used in his work of the mid-1970s.

Christie’s auction house initially valued Untitled XXV at $40m.

When the same painting was auctioned 10 years ago it went for $27.1m, a record at the time.

The bid at Tuesday night’s auction was placed in a phone call, and the buyer’s identity was not revealed.

New York’s fall auction season kicked off this week with an array of masterpieces, drawing bidders from around the world at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses.

Late on Monday, Edvard Munch’s Girls on the Bridge sold for $54.5m, the second-highest auction price paid for a work by the Norwegian painter, Sotheby’s said.

The 1902 painting depicting women in colourful dresses fetched a price higher than the auction house’s estimate of above $50m.

There is no shortage of bidders in the US, Paris, London — and increasingly Asia, with growing Chinese fortunes spent on internationally recognised works at both major auction houses.

The sales will serve as a barometer of the global art market, which did well during this year’s spring auctions despite a slow 2015.

AFP

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