Big Warhol Sales Start Contemporary Auction Week In New York
It's looking like the week of Warhol. This week's contemporary art auctions in New York City started off with a bang on Monday night as Phillips de Pury & Company inaugurated its Park Avenue salesroom in grand style. The NY Times reports that the auction house was trying out a new program called "Carte Blanche" in which someone outside the auction house curates a sale. The first auction was done by Philippe Ségalot, a private dealer who once ran Christie's postwar and contemporary art department in New York. The 33 lots orchestrated by Ségalot brought in a total of $117 million, above its high estimate of $104.8 million. Over half of that went to Andy Warhol's "Men in Her Life," shown above, a 1962 painting featuring Elizabeth Taylor. The $63.3 million price easily topped the $50 million high end estimate and was the second highest ever paid for a Warhol (the first was the $71.7 million paid at Christie's in 2007 for "Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)." But Andy Warhol's work wasn't through dazzling New York yet.
The Sotheby's New York sale saw the sale of a massive Andy Warhol painting of a glass Coca-Cola bottle for $35.4 million far above the $25 million high estimate. Bloomberg reports that the seller seller, curator and artist Elizabeth Richebourg Rea, acquired the piece for $143,000 at Christie's in 1983.
The stage is now set for one more major Warhol, a rare early painting that, as my colleague Jared Paul Stern reported previously, is expected to fetch up to $50 million during the Christie's Contemporary Art sale in New York on November 10. Given the prices we've already seen this week, we could have a record breaker on our hands.