Cy Twombly fetches $70.5M at Sotheby's NY auction

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2015 9:02 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — An abstract work by Cy Twombly from his "blackboard" fetched $70.5 million, an auction record for the artist, and a silkscreen by Andy Warhol of Mao Zedong brought in $47.5 million at Sotheby's sale of contemporary artworks on Wednesday.

Highlights of the evening sale:

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"Untitled (New York City)" by Cy Twombly

Presale estimate: in excess of $60 million. Sold for $70.5 million. Previous auction record was $69.6 million.

Notable: The 1968 painting is part of Twombly's series of white looping lines against a dark surface. It comes from the collection of philanthropist Audrey Irmas. Part of the proceeds will go to The Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice, which supports causes including the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles. The Byzantine-revival synagogue will receive $30 million from the sale for a new $60 million building next door. The Rem Koolhaas-designed building will be named The Audrey Irmas Pavilion.

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"Mao" by Andy Warhol

Presale estimate: $40 million. Sold for $47.5 million.

Notable: Created in 1972, the silkscreen is the artist's earliest iteration of China's former chairman Mao Zedong.

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"Concetto Spaziale, Attese" by Lucio Fontana

Presale estimate: $15 million to $20 million. Sold for $16.1 million. The auction record for the artist is $29.1 million.

Notable: Created in 1965, the artist slashed the crimson-colored canvas with 24 incisions in a single row across the 7-foot-wide painting. On the reverse, Fontana wrote in Italian: "I returned yesterday from Venice, I saw the film of Antonioni!!!," a reference to filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni's "Red Desert," a movie that explored how modern technological life affects humanity.

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Online: www.sothebys.com