Everyone will probably agree that one of the most famous paintings by Andy Warhol is certainly “Four Marilyns.” Exactly this renowned work estimated at $40 – 60 million was sold at Christie’s New York Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale in November. As its name suggests, the painting depicts a portrait of Marilyn Monroe painted by the artist in 1962. “Four Marilyns” was created with the use of the popular silk-screen printing technique in turquoise, purple, and yellow colors. Let us remind that Andy Warhol opened a new direction for contemporary art known today as “commercial pop art.” As a photographer and artist, Warhol worked with images of different politicians and show business stars, including Mao Zedong, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, John Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, and Richard Nixon. In most of the cases, Andy Warhol used in his work screen printing or silk-screen printing technique that allows creating multiple copies of the same image.
According to the official Christie’s website, Warhol’s “Four Marilyns” was sold for $36 million. It’s interesting that earlier this year this colorful quartet was sold for $44 million to one of the Turkish art collectors, Kemal Has Cingillioglu, who is also a member of the European Advisory Board at Christie’s. Among other auction highlights were “The Brigadier” (2003-2004) by Lucian Freud depicting a portrait of Andrew Parker Bowles that was sold for $ 34.8 million and a monumental sculpture by Louise Bourgeois “Spider” (1996-1997) sold for $28.2 million. In general, Christie’s New York Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale included 70 lots that were sold for a total of $332 million.
Another forward-looking international auction house Phillips also held an important New York sale this month. Almost 50 lots including works by Le Corbusier, Yayoi Kusama, Willem de Kooning, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Roy Lichtenstein, Anish Kapoor, Giorgio de Chirico, Alexander Calder, and other sculptors and artists went under the hammer at the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale. Needless to say that it is impossible to imagine today’s world of modern art without mentioned big names. The Phillips New York sale was led by Willem de Kooning’s painting “Untitled XXVIII” created in 1977. It was sold for $11.3 million. However, the auction was certainly not without surprises. Thus, Henry Moore’s sculpture “Torso” (1966) estimated at $600,000 – 800,000 was sold for more than a million dollars. The same applies to Lee Ufan’s work entitled “From Line” (1979) that was estimated at $400,000 – 600,000 and sold for $749,000.
Other highlights of the New York Evening Sale were Giorgio de Chirico’s “Gladiators at Rest (Gladiateurs au Repos)” (1928-1929) bought for $3.9 million and the Le Corbusier’s work “Femme Rouge et Pelote Verte” (1932) sold for $4.6 million. Finally, it’s hard not to mention such modern art works as Roy Lichtenstein’s “Face” (1986) that was bought for $1.5 million and Maurizio Cattelan’s sculpture “Frank and Jamie” (2002) sold for $1.2 million.