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It's safe to say art buyers made it rain yesterday at Christie's contemporary art sale. The auction house sold a whopping $495 million, the largest total ever earned in a single art auction. 

The auction included pieces from some major names. Jackson Pollock's famed painting "Number 19, 1948," sold for $58.4 million, which was nearly two times the pre-sale estimate. Roy Lichtenstein's "Woman with Flowered Hat," went for $56.1 million. Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Dustheads" sold for $48.8 million. Above we have the highest selling pieces in order.

All three of those works sold for the highest amount they have ever fetched in an auction. Basquiat's work was bought for almost twice its old record. Paintings continuously sold for record prices. It was cray-cray. Just look at this Gif of Christie's Europe president Jussi Pylkkanen doing his happy auctioneer dance via Hyperallergic


Out of the 70 works up for sale, only four were not bought by clearly hungry art buyers. In total, the auction ranked in $495,021,500 including commission, smashing the generous high pre-sale estimate of a little over $400 million. The event saw many high-profile collectors like Los Angeles financier Eli Broad, Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio, and the chairman of J. Crew, Millard Drexler. 

"We are in a new era of the art market," said Pylkkanen, the dude dancing above, according to The Associated Press. "There is global competition that we have never seen in the art world before."

Officials claims different reasons for the massive sale. Although this year's roster of artworks was strong already, some say the extremely rich now have an unprecedented appetite for art. Others claim the results were due to key private collections, such as works from the late singer Andy Williams and philanthropists Celeste and Armand Bartos.

Steven Murphy, CEO of Christie's International, claimed new collectors were fundamental to the auction's success. "Twenty-five percent of our buyers last year were new to Christie's," he said to Reuters. "And four or five of the key lots tonight went to people who have never bought here before."

“It was amazing,” said dealer Asher Edelman according to Bloomberg. “Nobody knows what to do with their money, I guess.”

Even John Currin's breasty painting depicting the Golden Bea Arthur that we told you about yesterday went for $1.9 million. What didn't sell, you ask? Works by Francis Bacon, Franz Kline, and art wonder boy Jeff Koons didn't end up moving that night. Go figure.

[via Reuters / Bloomberg / GalleristNY / NYTimes]

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