Friday, May 13, 2011


Bill Ray: Andy Warhol with Polaroid camera, New York, 1980

The dust has not yet settled from this week's Contemporary auctions, but work by Andy Warhol was clearly one of the big highlights - especially photo-based paintings. The top lot was Andy Warhol’s 1963-64 “Self- Portrait,” made of four photo-booth-strip images in different shades of blue. It went for $38.4 million, above the $30 million high estimate, after a tortuous -- some dealers said tedious -- bidding war between private art dealer Philippe Segalot and a telephone client of Brett Gorvy, deputy chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s. The price was an auction record for a Warhol portrait. (Via Bloomberg)

"Self-Portrait" (1963-1964) by Andy Warhol, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas.
Source: Christie's via Bloomberg

"The market for important works by Andy Warhol, the reigning king of Pop, continued to reach new heights at Christie’s New York tonight, as bidders chased two iconic self-portraits by the artist, setting a new world auction record for a Warhol portrait in the process."

"Sixteen Jackies" by Andy Warhol, silk screen on canvas.
Source: Sotheby's via Bloomberg

At the Sotheby's sale on Tuesday evening, a Warhol from 1964, "Sixteen Jackies" (est. $20-30 million), featuring a mixed composition of several Jacqueline Kennedy portraits in blue, brown, and white sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $20,242,500 . Most experts thought that excessive estimates dampened enthusiasm at Sotheby's $128 Million Contemporary Art Auction.
The four images of Jacqueline Kennedy, each repeated four times, were enlargements of news photographs that appeared widely and continually in the media after the assassination. Taken from issues of Life magazine, the images depict, from top to bottom: Jackie stepping off the plane upon arrival at Love Field in Dallas; stunned at the swearing-in ceremony for Lyndon B. Johnson aboard Air Force One after the president's death; grieving at the Capitol; and smiling in the limousine before the assassination. 16 Jackies combines a number of themes important in Warhol's work, such as his fascination with American icons and celebrities, his interest in the mass media and the dissemination of imagery, and his preoccupation with death.

Bill Ray: Andy Warhol with 20 x 24 Polaroid Camera, New York, 1980

The more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away and the better and emptier you feel."--Andy Warhol, 1975

Related: Composing The Artist: Photographs of Artists and Writers

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