Israeli businessman Yoav Harlap sold off part of his private art collection for 9.7 million pounds (about $18 million) at auction on Sunday at Christie's in London.
Of the 10 leading lots auctioned, six were works from Harlap's collection of European and American post-war and contemporary art. The piece that drew the highest price was Andy Warhol's 1964 "Flowers" painting, which sold for 3.704 million pounds ($6.9 million). Pre-sale estimates priced the painting at 2.5-3.5 million pounds.
The nextmost expensive painting was Tom Wesselmann's "Great American Nude," which sold for 1.408 million pounds. Its estimated pre-sale price was only 400,000-600,000 pounds.
All in all, Harlap sold 32 works.
Christie's sold the works in London, and not at its Israeli branch, since Harlap's collection was extremely appropriate for Christie's week featuring contemporary art, held in London every year during the month of October.
Harlap is a private businessman, and along with his brother - Dr. Shmuel Harlap - the owner of the Colmobile import franchise for Mercedes, Mitsubishi and Hyundai vehicles. He also invests in real estate and hi-tech, and owns 10 percent of the Midroog rating agency, the Israeli representative of Moody's international rating agency.
In addition to his business investments, Harlap has been collecting art for the last 20 years. His collection includes 35 major pieces of art spread over five decades from the 1940s to 1990s. It includes rare and fascinating works of pop art as well as contemporary art.
His collection includes works by Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Arman, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Mimmo Rotella, Tom Wesselmann, Mel Ramos, Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, Jean Michel Basquiat, Christo and Keith Haring.
The paintings put up for auction had never been put on public sale before, according to Chritie's. Harlap had bought them from dealers and collectors privately.
Harlap recently decided to auction off his collection. His confidantes say that the collection had been hung in his house in Herzliya. They said that many of the works had been on loan to museums. Recently Harlap received an offer he considered appropriate, and decided to auction off the works.
According to Christie's, Harlap will now start collecting the works of young artists.