How Much Oil Would Top 5 Paintings Sold at Christie’s Buy?

Christie’s Postwar and Contemporary Art Auctions closed tonight. And yes, Lucian Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” now officially holds the auction record for a living artist. Estimated to go for between $25-$35 million, the painting went for $33,641,000. As a followup to my post a couple days ago, here’s a tally of the top five paintings sold. And for consistency’s sake, quick calculations for how much oil each might buy. (Just in case we run into a gas shortage, we really ought to know which ones we should NOT burn for fuel.)

Here goes:

1. Mark Rothko, “No. 15”, 1952 / price $50,441,000

This could buy 400,325 barrels of oil OR 8.0 million gallons of gasoline. This represents 2% of U.S. daily gasoline consumption OR what we consume in 29 minutes.

2. Lucian Freud, “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”, 1995 / price $33,641,000

This could buy 266,992 barrels of oil OR 5.3 million galloons of gasoline. This represents 1.33% of U.S. daily gasoline consumption OR what we consume in 19 minutes.

3. Andy Warhol, “Double Marlon”, 1966 / price $32,521,000

This could buy 258,103 barrels of oil OR 5.2 million gallons of gasoline. This represents 1.29% U.S. daily gas consumption OR what we consume in 19 minutes.

4. Francis Bacon, “Three Studies for Self-Portrait“, 1976 / price $28,041,000

This could buy 222,548 barrels of oil OR 4.4 million gallons of gasoline. This represents 1.11% of U.S. daily gas consumption OR what we consume in 16 minutes.

5. Gerhard Richter, “Abstraktes Bild“, 1987 / price $14,601,000

This could buy 115,881 barrels of oil OR 2.3 million gallons of gasoline. This represents 0.58% of U.S. daily gas consumption OR what we consume in 8 minutes.

TOGETHER, these five paintings sold for $159,245,000. Just for the record, that would buy 1.3 million barrels of oil, which could be converted into 25.3 million gallons of gasoline. This buys the equivalent of 6.32% of our entire country’s consumption in one day. Or, a total of 91 minutes of power for the U.S., from FIVE paintings. Wow. Talk about concentration of wealth.

Tomorrow: the Sotheby’s auction results.

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One Response to How Much Oil Would Top 5 Paintings Sold at Christie’s Buy?

  1. starlette says:

    Great post. It’s amazing how much wealth is out there that just keeps going around in circles. thanks!

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