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Christie's breaks record with $66.3 million sale

A large painting by Willem​ de Kooning fetched over $66 million at an auction in New York, setting a new record for the expressionist artist. The anonymous buyer placed his bid in a phone call.

De Kooning's "Untitled XXV" measures 1.96 meters by 2.24 meters (roughly 6.4 feet by 7.4 feet) and was painted by the Dutch-American artist in 1977.

The Christie's auction house did not reveal the name of the buyer who bought the work on Tuesday. The firm initially valued the painting at $40 million (37 million euros), saying that it comes from the most successful creative period for the abstract artist and was inspired by landscapes around his home in Louse Point in Springs, New York.

"In the '70s he found new love ... and that gave him inspiration, but also his arrival in Springs where he designed and built his own studio," said Brett Gorvy, Christie's head of post-war and contemporary art.

Bildergalerie Ausstellung Frauen (picture-alliance/dpa)

De Kooning was born in Rotterdam and emigrated to the US in 1926, at the age of 22

"He suddenly found his voice again. He described this 1977 period almost like a gambler throwing dice, and each time he was a winner. It was a phenomenal period of creativity where he basically produced the best paintings since the work he was doing in the 50s," Gorvy said.

The Tuesday price of $66.3 million (some 62 million euros) is the highest ever for De Kooning, who died in 1997. At the auction in 2006, the same work was sold for $27.1 million, setting a new record for post-war and contemporary art.

The British music star Eric Clapton also bought a painting by the German artists Gerhard Richter at the same auction, according to Christie's. Richter's work fetched over $20 million.

dj/msh (AP, AFP)

 

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