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Christie's London contemporary art sale down on 2011

Friday, 12 Oct 2012 | 7:06 AM ET

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Christie's raised 41.2 million pounds ($62 million) from its combined London sales of post-war, contemporary and Italian art late on Thursday, towards the lower end of pre-sale estimates and down on the equivalent auctions of 2011.

The world's biggest auctioneer had expected to sell art worth 36.6-51.9 million pounds, and when buyers' premium are deducted, Thursday's total comes in at around the low estimate.

Last year the combined tally was 55.7 million pounds.

The auctions coincided with the start of the Frieze Art Fair which opened to the public on Thursday and has become an important fixture in the contemporary art market calendar.

Rival auctioneer Sotheby's holds its sales late on Friday, and in addition to more than 170 galleries exhibiting at Frieze, dozens more are selling top works across the city to capitalise on the presence of hundreds of wealthy collectors.

The top end of the art market has performed strongly in recent years despite global economic weakness and concerns over unemployment, the euro and faltering Chinese growth.

But Sotheby's saw its Hong Kong autumn sales of Asian and Chinese artwork and luxury goods fall well short of last year's levels, fetching $258 million or 37 percent less than in the same period of 2011.

At Christie's, the top price was for Martin Kippenberger's "Untitled", which fetched 3.1 million pounds, a new auction record for the artist. Piero Manzoni's "Achrome" realised 2.6 million pounds in Italy.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)

((Mike.Collett-White@thomsonreuters.com)(tel: +44 7990 560 229))

Keywords: ARTS AUCTION/CHIRSTIE'S

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