Christie's shows off star New York lots in London

Fri Oct 7, 2011 6:00am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Christie's will display some of the prize lots coming up for sale in New York at an exhibition in London including a Degas sculpture valued at up to $35 million and a Lichtenstein picture worth as much as $45 million.

The prices underline the belief among auction houses and some sellers that high-quality works which rarely come to market will continue to fetch top prices despite broader concerns over the global economy.

Edgar Degas' "Petite danseuse de quatorze ans" is one of the world's most recognizable sculptures, and the version to be offered by Christie's in New York on November 1 is one of only 10 still in private hands.

It is expected to fetch $25-35 million, within striking distance of the Degas auction record which stands at $37 million, set at Sotheby's in 2008, for a pastel dancer picture.

Roy Lichtenstein's 1961 "I Can See the Whole Room! ... and There's Nobody in It!" has been valued at $35-45 million, and Christie's said it was regarded as "an essential cornerstone in the history of Pop Art."

It too could set a new artist record when it goes under the hammer in New York on November 8, potentially topping the $42.6 million bid for Lichtenstein's "Ohhh ... Alright ..." (1964) at Christie's in 2010.

According to the auction house, "I Can See the Whole Room!..." fetched $2.1 million when it was last sold in 1988 and it was last seen in public in 1985.

The two works, plus others by Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter which will all be offered by Christie's in New York next month, go on show at the auctioneer's newly renovated show rooms in central London.   Continued...