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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 10:00 GMT
Contemporary art shows strength
Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning died in 1997
The contemporary art market proved its strength as a New York auction raised more than $74.5m (44.3m).

The most expensive to be sold at the Sotheby's sale was Willem de Kooning's 1959 Spike's Folly I.

The abstract oil fetched $11.2m (6.6m) against an estimate of between $10m (5.9m) and $15m (8.9m).

Mark Rothko's No8 (White Stripe) from 1958 reached $8.8m (5.5M), while work by Agnes Martin and Roy Lichtenstein reached record prices.

Lichtenstein's sculpture Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight went for $2.1m (1.2m), nearly doubling the record for a piece by the late American pop artist.

Brice Marden's Leaves reached $2.5m (1.4m), passing its high estimate of $2.2m (1.3m).

Similar success

"It was a fantastic success," said Tobias Meyer, Sotheby's worldwide head of contemporary art.

"The market for contemporary art is I think stronger than ever, and we're thrilled and very, very happy."

Dublin-born Francis Bacon's Three Studies for Portrait of Lucian Freud had a high bid of $3.8m (2.2m).

But Jeff Koons' Popples and Arshile Gorky's Portraits of YD failed to sell during the auction.

Christie's in New York had a similar success with its contemporary art auction on Tuesday, with an untitled outdoor work in red steel by American Alexander Calder going for a record $5,8m (3.4m).

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