Georgie O’Keeffe paintings in Christie’s art auction worth $676m

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Christy Turlington is one of the bestselling supermodels of all time Four paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and works by Wolfgang Tillmans sold for a total of $676m (£445m)…

Georgie O'Keeffe paintings in Christie's art auction worth $676m

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Christy Turlington is one of the bestselling supermodels of all time

Four paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and works by Wolfgang Tillmans sold for a total of $676m (£445m) as part of an art auction that saw a Russian billionaire divorce his multimillionaire wife.

Christie’s said the seven lots sold under the hammer on Wednesday, with the most expensive selling for $43m.

A Czech abstract painting by Karel Appel, a huge work of art valued at £9m, failed to sell in the wake of a row between the estranged couple.

Christie’s said “financial issues” with the former US couple prevented sales being finalised.

O’Keeffe, whose paintings have been described as among the greatest by many of the world’s leading critics, and her second husband, furniture designer Donald Graham, were at the auction to watch the sales.

The 1960s oil paintings sold for a total of $421m, beating the previous auction record for the artist.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Billionaire Oleg Deripaska is at the centre of allegations of bribery in Russia

The auction has been described as the “final chapter” in a drawn-out divorce battle between the Chinese-Russian magnate and his US-born ex.

Christie’s said Oleg Deripaska sold seven of the eight lots he put on offer, raising a total of $287m.

Oleg Deripaska was deeply involved in business deals with billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a Russia-born asset manager and close associate of former president Vladimir Putin.

This month, prosecutors in the US charged Oleg Deripaska and his wife in a New York federal court with engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the US government through bribery and other crimes.

Oleg Deripaska, who has a net worth of over $10bn (£7.9bn), was alleged to have paid millions of dollars in bribes to obtain Russia licence and other export agency permits for exports of aluminium to the United States.

In his deposition, Oleg Deripaska denied he was involved in the corruption scheme but also submitted a letter that detailed plans to “pay the legal fees”.

Image copyright AFP

On Wednesday, the Russian tycoon withdrew eight lots, which Christie’s called “critical to completing the business of the auction.”

Christie’s placed the accepted lots back into the market, which it estimated would fetch between $250m and $340m.

The Russian businessman has also taken a “purchase and sale agreement” against Oleg Deripaska that would cover the significant amounts he claims he is owed from the sale of art, including the seven lots he sold.

Image copyright AFP

The following night the auction house also held a previous sale of only works by non- Russian artists.

Bona fide global sales from the sale were said to generate $2.5m.

Prices for rare works by great American artists soared, including a $10m lot from Georgia O’Keeffe by Richard Sennett that was sold by her friend Robert Rauschenberg, and a $2.2m work by modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe by Claude Monet.

Sotheby’s had sold a similar work by O’Keeffe in 2013 for $8.75m.

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