Christie's New York art sale sets post-war contemporary record

Jeff Koons' Tulip Tulip is part of a series of works created by Koons over nine years

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The US art season ended with a record-breaking sales total of $412m (£259.9m) for Christie's, with records set for works by 11 artists.

Jeff Koons sculpture Tulip, which graced New York's Rockefeller Center plaza, achieved an artist record of $33.7m (£21.2m).

New records were also set for Franz Kline and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Christie's claimed the $412m figure was the most successful sale of post-war and contemporary art in history.

"This truly was an extraordinary sale," said Jussi Pylkkanen, president of Christie's Europe, Middle East and Russia.

"Clearly there's an enormous amount of energy in the post-war and contemporary market. It's highly likely that we'll see a continuation of records being broken."

Smashing record

The previous day, rival auction house Sotheby's had staged its most successful auction in its history, taking $375m (£236m).

Koons' Tulip became the second highest figure paid for a living artist, following on from Gerhard Richter's 1994 painting Abstraktes Bild, which sold in October.

Tulip was created between 1995-2004 and is one of five versions of the work.

Kline's canvas, featuring broad black strokes, sold for $40.4m (£25.4m), smashing the previous $9.3m (£5.8m) record for his work.

The Christie's sale also included Andy Warhol's Statue of Liberty, which sold for $43.7m (£27.5m).

Basquiat's untitled work from 1981 sold for $26.4m (£16.6m), beating the artist's previous record of $20.1m (£12.6m), which was only set in June.

Basquiat started out as a graffiti artist before finding fame as a contemporary artist. He died of a heroin overdose in 1988 at the age of 27.

Rothko's Red Strip sold for $23.4m (£14.7m), just a day after large-scale masterpiece No 1 (Royal Red and Blue) sold for $75.1m (£47.2m) at Sotheby's.

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