Andy Warhol FlowersAndy Warhol’s “Flowers.” Photo: Christie’s

A security breach brought Christie’s auction house website down on the evening of May 9, just days before a week of important art auctions. While staff raced against time to solve the issue, a temporary website was set up for prospective bidders to view the auction lots. On May 19, CEO Guillaume Cerutti issued a statement confirming that the website and app were back online and apologizing for the inconvenience.

While the five online-only auctions scheduled for that week had to be postponed, the highly anticipated live auctions were still held—and still successful. Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale on May 16, featuring art by such famous figures as David Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Claude Monet, was a special standout, with bidders around the world bringing high prices, including some artist records.

Emily Kaplan, co-head of the sale, called it “a testament to the lasting power of Pop.” Sure enough, the top lot was Flowers by Andy Warhol, whose name is practically synonymous with Pop Art. After five minutes of bidding, it sold for $35.5 million. Van Gogh’s Coin de Jardin Avec Papillons was close behind at $33.2 million.

Van Gogh Coin de Jardin Avec PapillonsVan Gogh “Coin de Jardin Avec Papillons.” Photo: Christie’s

Three records were set at the auction. The photograph Satiric Dancer, 1926, sold for $567,000, setting an auction record for André Kertész. Alexander Archipenko’s sculpture Woman Combing Her Hair sold for $5.1 million, almost doubling the artist’s previous record set by Christie’s in 2005. Rene Magritte’s Les Grâces Naturelles sold for $3.6 million, a record price for a sculpture by the famous surrealist.

The auction brought in a total of $413.3 million.

All told, despite the cyber-attack, Christie’s concluded a successful series of six live sales for its spring marquee week of 20th/21st-century Art sales on May 18. The sales, which were led by the 20th Century Evening Sale, the 21st Century Evening Sale, and The Rosa de la Cruz Collection Evening Sale, delivered a market-leading performance, realizing a combined total of $640,219,290.

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