Antony Gormley’s 'miniature' Angel sets new artist record

Antony Gormley’s A Case for an Angel I (1989) has set a new auction record for the British artist.

The work sold for £5.3m ($6.9m) at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London on the weekend.

It is an early miniature variant of the Angel of the North (1998), Gormley’s 65-foot-high memorial in Gateshead, UK.

Gormley angel north

Gormley's previous record was $4.4m

This lead, plastic and fibreglass sculpture is itself a work on enormous scale – measuring 28 feet across.

The result far surpasses the previous Gormley record of £3.4m ($4.4m), set for a miniature version of the Angel in 2011.

Collector Yusaku Maezawa is the new owner.

"Meeting the artist two days ago and speaking with him about his work I liked the man and was moved by his commitment to his creation," Maezawa said.

"Directly understanding the meaning and importance of A Case for an Angel I, I was inspired to add this masterpiece to my collection."

Gormley explains of the work: “The inherent cruciform in the angel exists already within the body, in the relationship between sexuality and consciousness or the brain and the genitals and the ability of the arms to reach out to embrace the wider world.

“The cross was in the body long before any body was nailed to one.”

The most valuable lot of the sale was Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1982 work Red Skull.

It sold for £16.5m ($21.6m).  

Basquiat red skull

Basquiat created five skull works in 1982

Basquiat collectors adore his skull works. This is one of five the street artist created in 1982, the year his work went mainstream.

Basquiat's auction record remains $110.5m, set by an untitled 1982 piece at Sotheby's earlier this year.

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