Baku, July 3, AZERTAC
Andy Warhol's one dollar bill fetched a record £20.9m, smashing its pre-sale estimate of £13-18m at Sotheby's most lucrative sale ever.
In all, £130.4m was raised on 1 July in the sale of contemporary art including works from Andy Warhol, Lucien Freud and Gerhard Richter.
With 78% of the works being offered for the first time, the total sales of a little more than £130.4 broke the previous record of £123.5m set earlier this year, with 49 lots sold on the night.
Two newly discovered self-portraits by Francis Bacon that sold for £30m, Lucien Freud's 2002 work Four Eggs On A Plate, for £989,000, nearly ten times the pre-sale estimate of £100-£150,000 and Gerhard Richter's 1987 A B, Brick Tower that sold for £14.1m were the top earners.
Warhol's One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate) was the pop artist's first such work of a dollar, painted by hand in 1962. Known for his cultivation of celebrity Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century.
His famous quips like "art is what you can get away with" and "everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" are reflected in his works that explored the relationship between art, celebrity culture and advertisement of the period.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby's head of contemporary art, said that the evening affirmed the pivotal position of London within the international art market.
Contemporary art is fast racing ahead with collectors going for it in attempts to "understand the world through the eye of an artist" with buyers engaged with present times.
The London Sotheby's sale follows another record-breaking one held in June at Christie's in New York, including the $179.4m (£114m) paid for Pablo Picasso's Les Femmes d'Alger, making it the most expensive painting sold at an auction.
The newest collectors on the buying block are the Chinese, with both auction houses going to inordinate lengths to court them, writes The Guardian.