Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Warhol Double Elvis sold for £23m

Andy Warhol's portrait of Elvis Presley depicted as a cowboy sold at Sotherby's in New York for nearly 23 million pounds (AP)

Andy Warhol's Double Elvis has sold for nearly £23 million and works by Roy Lichtenstein and Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei broke their own records at Sotheby's contemporary art sale in New York.

Lichtenstein's Sleeping Girl, depicting a woman with closed eyes and flowing blonde hair, fetched 44,882,500 dollars (£27.8 million), as did Francis Bacon's Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror; Weiwei's one-ton, handmade porcelain Sunflower Seeds brought 782,500 dollars (£486,000).

The buyers' names for each of the four pieces were not released.

The sale came on the heels of art auction history. Last week, the auction house sold Edvard Munch's The Scream for 119.9 million dollars (£74.4 million), making it the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

"The reason for these record-breaking sales is, quite simply, the quality of material on show," said Michael Frahm, a contemporary art adviser at the London-based Frahm. "The key is quality."

Warhol's Double Elvis (Ferus Type), a silver silkscreen image of Elvis Presley depicted as a cowboy, fetched 37,042,500 dollars (£22.9 million). It had been expected to sell for 30-50 million dollars. The auction house said it was the first Double Elvis to appear on the market since 1995.

Warhol produced a series of 22 images of Elvis. Nine are in museum collections.

The rock and roll heart-throb is shown armed and shooting from the hip, a shadowy Elvis figure faintly visible in the background. It was offered for sale by a private American collector, who acquired it in 1977.

The record for a Warhol is 71.7 million dollars (£44.5 million) for his Green Car Crash - Green Burning Car I, sold at Christie's in 2007.

Lichtenstein's Sleeping Girl was one of a series of sexy comic book-inspired images created by the artist in the 1960s. The work was exhibited only once - at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1989-90. It was sold by the estate of Los Angeles collectors and philanthropists Beatrice and Phillip Gersh, who were the founding members of MOCA.

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