JASPER JOHNS vs MAGRITTE vs DE KOONING: which painting will sell for more at the Christie's auction? (pics included)
resolved May 17
Willem de Kooning - Man in Wainscott
Jasper Johns - 0 through 9
Rene Magritte - Les eaux profondes

This market is a competition between three expensive paintings listed for sale at Christie's "20th Century Evening Sale" live auction.

This market resolves to the painting which sells for the highest value value at auction.

While the Jasper Johns has the higher average estimate by a hair, that doesn't mean much—there's huge variation in auction results, and the estimates aren't super precise.

Resolution details:

  • Example from a past auction: this painting by Gentilesch has a "price realised" of USD 982,800. This is the equivalent number I will use—whatever is displayed by the auction page.

  • Edge cases:

    • If a painting fails to sell for any reason, it counts as $0 (e.g. if only one sells & the other two don't, it automatically resolves to the one that sold).

    • If all three paintings fail to sell, they each resolve at 33% (and if there's somehow an exact tie, it's proportionally split between the tied paintings).

    • If any scenarios for resolution are unclear, please ask.

Jasper Johns - 0 through 9

Executed in 1961, Jasper Johns’s 0 through 9 is the original Sculp-metal painting from the artist’s first European show, held in Paris at the Galerie Rive Droite in the summer of 1961. Each numeral from zero to nine has been cut from Sculp-metal, with each layered atop the next, allowing the viewer to see “through” the numbers, creating a beautiful abstract pattern but also distorting the numbers’ individual legibility. The result is a form of Pop Art that is also quintessentially “Johns,” wherein the malleability of the aluminum-like material maintains its crisp edge, and yet also displays the subtle impressions of the artist’s hand.

Rene Magritte - Les eaux profondes

Les eaux profondes is an iconic, enigmatic work within René Magritte’s oeuvre, steeped in the intense sense of mystery that defined his work during one of the most intriguing periods of his career. Created during the dark days of the German Occupation of Belgium in the Second World War, the painting plunges the viewer into the artist’s idiosyncratic world of poetic Surrealism, its confluence of familiar yet strange objects conjuring an uncanny, disquieting atmosphere. While Magritte had previously used the title Les eaux profondes ("Deep Waters") for a photographic portrait of his wife from 1934, here the phrase adds to the inscrutable atmosphere of the composition—the scene is at once eerily still and silent, yet brimming with a simmering tension beneath the surface.

Willem de Kooning - Man in Wainscott

Man in Wainscott is testament to Willem de Kooning’s lifelong investigation into the intersection between the physical properties of paint and notions of figural representation. One of the artist’s famed ‘figures in a landscape,’ this 1969 painting exemplifies the “rich sensually textured fashion” in which de Kooning applied his paint, resulting in “…a painted world with a powerful, immediate impact, an arena to work out his psychological and critical being.

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