Bonhams : World Record for Monumental Cragg Sculpture at Post-War and Contemporary Sale
World Record for Monumental Cragg Sculpture at Post-War and Contemporary Sale

'Constant Change', a monumental sculpture by Tony Cragg, topped Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Sale in London today (3 October), selling for £849,063. It set a new world record for the artist at auction. The work had been estimated at £450,000-650,000. The sale as a whole totalled £5,351,214.

Cragg (b. 1949) created Constant Change in 2005. Standing over 4.5 metres tall, the sculpture is the largest work by the artist ever to appear at auction with the two, highly polished, stainless steel columns towering over viewers.

Bonhams Global Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Ralph Taylor, commented, "Tony Cragg is one of the most important sculptors of our time, and Constant Change was an incredibly exciting work to bring to auction. We were very confident that this sculpture would appeal to collectors, and the fierce competition to secure the work – leading to a new world record – bore this out."

Zao Wou-Ki
A lyrical and elegant red painting by the Chinese-French painter Zao Wou-Ki sold for £591,063. Never before offered at auction, 23-9-70 had been estimated at £400,000-600,000.

Born in Beijing, Zao spent much of his career in Paris and was one of the first post-war artists to achieve global success, with his striking synthesis of Eastern calligraphy and Western abstraction. None of his works are titled, bearing only the dates on which they were completed.

Bonhams International Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Giacomo Balsamo said, "23-9-70 was painted during Zao Wou-Ki's Hurricane Period which lasted from 1959-1972. It is a bravura demonstration of the impeccable variety of techniques and unparalleled skill with which he constructed his works. Fresh to the market, and rare among Zao's works in its palette, 23-90-70 fully justified the strong bidding and the high price."

Other highlights of the sale included:

Untitled Variant/Abode (Grey, Black, Red) by Josef Albers (1888-1976) from 1947 which sold for £237,563 – a new world record at auction for a work on paper by the artist. It had been estimated at £120,000-180,000.

Hollywood Pool and Palm Tree (1965) by David Hockney. Estimated at £250,000-350,000, it sold for £350,063. A testament to the exuberant palette and cool nonchalance of Los Angeles in the mid-1960s, Hollywood Pool and Palm Tree (1965) encapsulates the energy and vision with which David Hockney approached contemporary painting in a setting that saw the artist produce his most significant and iconic works.

Two works from an important private Italian collection, Lucio Fontana 1960 Concetto spaziale sold for £356,313 (estimate: £250,000-350,000) with Oggi il trentesimo del quarto mese uno nove otto nove from 1989 by Aligheiro Boetti selling for £293,813 (estimate £200,000-300,000).

Works sold to benefit the National Saturday Club

The National Saturday Club aims to help 13-16 year olds with an interest in Art and Design to strengthen their skills and knowledge in their chosen subject. It partners with universities, colleges and cultural institutions across the UK which run free Saturday Clubs during the academic year, providing specialist facilities and tutoring.

A selection of works donated by leading artists raised £234,224 to help enable the National Saturday Club to grow its network over the coming years and provide an opportunity for every 13-16 years old in the country, regardless of background, to take part in the programme.

Among the highlights were:

MEME CCCLXXXVIII, a cast iron sculpture by Antony Gormley: £109,307
• Two sketches for 'From the studio' by Frank Auerbach: £31,022
Counterpart II by Tom Price: £23,282
• Untitled (Fragment 5), screenprint on Plexiglas by Bridget Riley: £29,732
Haggadah (P2) chromogenic print laid on aluminium by Gerhard Richter: £28,442

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