Auctioneer Henry Highley brings down the hammer on Jean-Michel Basquiat's 'Flexible', selling for $45,315,000 after a battle between room and phone bidders

Our spring 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York realized $131,564,750. Following the success of our best-ever Day Sale on Wednesday, 16 May, the combined total for the week was $155,566,425.

The Evening Sale was led by Jean-Michel Basquiat's Flexible which realized $45,315,000. A panel painting from 1984, standing eight-and-a-half feet tall and estimated at $20,000,000, Flexible was the highest-value and largest work to ever be offered from the Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Proceeds from its sale will go toward the estate's mission of fostering Basquiat's artistic and cultural legacy.

Robert Motherwell’s black and white canvas At Five in the Afternoon, 1971, sold for $12,690,000 and shattered the artist's previous auction record of $3.6 million. A masterpiece from his celebrated Elegies to the Spanish Republic series, it was the first work of this caliber and unique art historical importance to come to auction.

The sale also produced new world auction records for Pat Steir's Elective Affinity Waterfall, 1992 and Cory Arcangel's Photoshop CS: 84 by 66 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient, "Blue, Red, Yellow" (turn reverse off), mousedown x=4000 y=5350, mouse up x=20000 y=1200.

The evening concluded with the sale of Maurizio Cattelan's Museums League scarves — donated by the artist himself — which raised $27,500 to benefit the Brooklyn Museum's acquisition fund for young artists.


New York 20th Century & Contemporary Art  |  Top 10 Results

Jean-Michel Basquiat Flexible, 1984. Sold for $45,315,000.

Robert Motherwell At Five in the Afternoon, 1971. Sold for $12,690,000. World auction record for the artist.

Andy Warhol Last Supper, 1986. Sold for $8,232,500.

Mark Bradford Black Venus, 2005. Sold for $6,052,500.

Rudolf Stingel Untitled, 2015. Sold for $5,940,000.

Andy Warhol 16 Flowers, 1965. Sold for $5,377,500.

Kerry James Marshall Untitled (Blanket Couple), 2014. Sold for $4,335,000.

Henry Moore Working Model for Draped Reclining Mother and Baby, 1983. Sold for $4,215,000.

Willem de Kooning Untitled 13, 1977. Sold for $4,155,000.

Gerhard Richter Italienische Landschaft (Italian Landscape), 1966. Sold for $4,095,000.

New Auction Records

Pat Steir Elective Affinity Waterfall, 1992. Sold for $2,295,000.

Cory Arcangel Photoshop CS: 84 by 66 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient, "Blue, Red, Yellow" (turn reverse off), mousedown x=4000 y=5350, mouse up x=20000 y=1200, 2011. Sold for $399,000.

READ MORE:

Jean-Michel Basquiat's 'Flexible': Behind the Lens with Lizzie Himmel

Robert Motherwell: A Field of Inexhaustible Meaning

The Celebratory Symbolism of Maurizio Cattelan's 'Museums League'