(Bloomberg News) A rediscovered Andy Warhol self portrait that hadn't been seen in public for more than 30 years last night helped a London sale raise the highest total in the U.K. capital since June 2008.

Christie's International made 61.4 million pounds ($99 million) with fees as the auction market for contemporary art continued its rehabilitation process. Dealer Larry Gagosian, bidding in the room, paid 10.8 million pounds ($17.4 million) for the crimson acrylic and silkscreen Warhol portrait, dating from 1967.

Buyers from a widening geographical range are joining sales as the value of contemporary works rises. Bidders came from 21 different countries, said Christie's.

"More wealthy people are diversifying their assets and putting five percent into art," the Montreal-based collector Francois Odermatt said. "A lot more of them are buying for their own private museums. There's now a market for big works."

Warhol's 6-foot square portrait was estimated to fetch a hammer price of as much as 5 million pounds. Gagosian was underbid by Andreas Rumbler of Christie's on the phone and New York collector and dealer Jose Mugrabi, also in the room.

The painting, showing the Pop artist looking pensive with his hand over his mouth, was one of a series of 11 large-scale self portraits, five of which are now in museums, including the Detroit Museum of Arts and the U.K.'s Tate collection. Offered by what the London-based auction house described as "an American estate," it had been acquired from Warhol's New York dealer, Leo Castelli, in 1974.

Koons's Bears

The sale tested demand for art-boom favorite Jeff Koons. The 1988 wood sculpture, "Winter Bears,' ' from his "Banality" series, was also new to auction. One from an edition of four, it was acquired by its European seller from the New York-based dealership Deitch Projects in 1994. It sold for a mid-estimate 3 million pounds to a telephone bid from Christie's New York-based Amy Cappellazzo. Another version was donated to the U.K. nation by the former London dealer Anthony d'Offay in 2008 and has been displayed at Tate Modern, London.

Matthew Day Jackson's 2007 painting "Bucky II" was sold for a below-estimate 79,250 pounds. Odermatt said in an e-mail that his wife, Isabelle, was the buyer. It was a smaller version of the portrait of the engineer Buckminster Fuller that U.K.- based jeweler Laurence Graff bought for a record 601,250 pounds at Christie's, London, in 2010.

"It's a hard market to read," London dealer Simon Lee said. "One minute an artist is hot, the next not. The mini- cycles turn quickly. Gerhard Richter remains strong, though."

First « 1 2 » Next