A rare aquatint print by Edvard Munch starred at Christie's yesterday (March 20), achieving an outstanding increase on estimate to headline the Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints auction in London.
Young Woman on the Beach fired past its £700,0000 high estimate by 204.8%, selling for £2.1m ($3.2m).
At Sotheby's on March 19, Munch's woodcut print Two Human Beings (The Lonely Ones) sold with a 181.9% increase on valuation. This strong run of success has been spurred by the sale of The Scream in May 2012, which set a new world record for any work of art at auction.
1896's Young Woman on the Beach is one of only 11 impressions.
Christie's head of prints, Tim Schmelcher explained its appeal prior to the sale.
"Munch produced only a small number of colour aquatints over a very short period of time, between 1896 and 1897 in Paris, of which he only made very few impressions," he said.
"The artist inked each print individually in different colour combinations, and as a result, they are all unique and vary greatly in mood and character."
Also selling well was a print of Andy Warhol's Red Lenin, which was offered by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky to help recover losses following a lawsuit against Roman Abramovich. The 1987 screen print sold for £133,875 ($202,017), up 167.5% on its £50,000 high estimate.
Warhol also put in a strong performance in the March 19 Sotheby's auction, with a complete set of his Endangered Species prints achieving a 28.8% increase on estimate.
The presence of both Warhol and Munch at the top of both Christie's and Sotheby's auctions reflects 2012's top-sales; while Munch was capturing the art auction record, Andy Warhol was the year's best-selling artist.
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