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The top lot of the London post-war and contemporary sales was Francis Bacon's rather battered-looking Study for a Portrait, 1953, which sold for $28.6 million -- about $10 million above its presale estimate -- at Christie's evening auction on June 28, 2011. With auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen pushing the bids up in $500,000 increments, the inky blue-black painting of a businessman in an armchair sold in slightly under five minutes to a telephone bidder.
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Art Market Watch


July 5, 2011 

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The June auctions of contemporary art in London last week give reason for optimism for those who jet in the art-market stratosphere. Sotheby's two-day total was $206 million, with an evening sell-through rate of almost 90 percent and 80.8 percent for the day sale. The total is more or less the same as that notched at the house in February 2008, six months before the financial collapse.

Christie's London came in more than 25 percent lower that its archrival, totaling $146.8 million, with sell-through rates of 82 percent during the evening auction and 75 percent during the day. At Phillips de Pury & Company London, the total was $26.7 million, with corresponding sell-through percentages of 87 percent and 77 percent.

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