Christie's art sale nets $18.3m

The Christie's Post War and Contemporary Art auction in London had an indeniable star - a decade after his untimely death - artist Martin Kippenburger.

Kippenburger's works were two of only three which sold for over £1m: Paris Bar and Kellner Des, both painted in 1991. Each depicts a bar, the latter from the outside.

Paris Bar sold for £2.2m (having been estimated at around £1m) whilst Kellner Des (waiter of) beat its £700,000 estimate to sell for £1.1m.

The two oil-on-canvas paintings contrast in their colour schemes - the Paris Bar is shown in warm oranges whilst Kellner Des shows the night street in soothing blues - but otherwise the style is similar.

Meanwhile, Peter Doig's enormous Pine House (Rooms for Rent), scaled at 70 x 90in and painted in 1990, sold for £1.39m.

The large, ramshackle house Doig saw in real life changed into a condominium. Doig used this as the basis to create three paintings for the subject, as he has in other places, offering an imaginary history.

An other excellent performer was Neo Rauch's Stellwerk (Signal Box). Estimated at around £400,000, the red, cream and green oil painting easily doubled that to reach an impressive total of £890,000.

Damien Hirst's Retribution, his 2006 pale blue and white butterfly painting, also sold. Estimated at £450,000-650,000, many hoped that the work would mark a return to the artist's art boom-era values. It fell midway between the two, bringing £542,000.

Hirst's artwork Maxwell's sold within its estimate range (£100,000-150,000) at £115,250, and I Miss You £337,250, sold at 10% above its higher estimate (£200,000-300,000).

The sales should offer some vindication for Hirst. His recent return to painting, The Blue Paintings, met an unfavourable response, even described by one critic as "shockingly bad".

Overall, the sale was a great success for Christie's, and could signal a healthy future for the art buyers' market.


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