Christie's London contemporary art sale down on 2011

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Christie's raised 41.2 millionpounds ($62 million) from its combined London sales of post-war,contemporary and Italian art late on Thursday, towards the lowerend of pre-sale estimates and down on the equivalent auctions of2011.

The world's biggest auctioneer had expected to sell artworth 36.6-51.9 million pounds, and when buyers' premium arededucted, 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 Fairwhich opened to the public on Thursday and has become animportant 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 capitaliseon the presence of hundreds of wealthy collectors.

The top end of the art market has performed strongly inrecent years despite global economic weakness and concerns overunemployment, the euro and faltering Chinese growth.

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

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

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

((Mike.Collett-White@thomsonreuters.com)(tel: +44 7990 560229))