Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sponges on canvas auctioned for $21-million

NEW YORK — An artwork of sponges stuck on a canvas sold Tuesday for more than $21-million (U.S.).

Yves Klein's Archisponge (RE 11) was the top seller at Sotheby's contemporary art auction in Manhattan, a spokeswoman said. But it and many other pieces in the auction sold below their presale estimates; many didn't sell.

Art auctions by Sotheby's and Christie's this month have been held against the backdrop of a gloomy economy that has some observers wondering how many deep-pocketed buyers are left to snap up paintings and sculptures for tens of millions of dollars.

Klein's 1960 work of natural sponges applied to the canvas and executed in the artist's signature International Klein Blue pigment fetched $21.4-million. Its presale estimate was $25-million.

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