Auction review: The London Sale at Christie’s, South Kensington
Often, arts auctions are based around a period, style or nationality. However, this one-off themed exhibition and auction at Christie’s in South Kensington is specifically orientated around the single city of London. Upon entering the auction room one immediately notices the variety of objects with their own equally diverse frames of reference, from street signs to vintage clothes and quaint riverside paintings.
London’s infamous 90s contemporary art scene even makes its sardonic presence felt in the form of Simon Patterson’s The Great Bear, concisely described to the well-heeled audience as “a tube map that isn’t quite a tube map”.
The auction reached a crescendo as a South Korean online bidder racked up an offer of £55,000 for a 60s London double-decker bus, the dapper auctioneer elegantly yet forcefully gesticulating towards the online participants watching through the auction room’s webcam and the phone operators who held the responsibility of keeping their clients informed with the sale’s speedy development.
This price later increased to over £65,000, smashing the lot’s estimate of £20,000 to £30,000.
The auctions concurrence with The Great British Summer (TM) was reinforced by the sales of Olympic medals, the most successful of which was the £25,000 sale of a first-place medal (which was, in fact, silver) from the 1896 Athens Olympics. Resplendent with what appears to be a finely crafted relief of Zeus’s mug it certainly carries a solemn gravitas that is absent from London’s current pseudo-modernist Olympics branding.
To read more about The London Sale and the results click here.