Andy Warhol Self-portrait Sells For $17 Million As London Art Boom Continues
An important rediscovered Andy Warhol self-portrait crowned a big art week in London, selling for £10.8 million pounds ($17.4 million) at Christie's. The piece which dates from 1967 is a red square six-foot acrylic and silkscreen piece showing Warhol staring thoughtfully at the viewer, two fingers covering his mouth. Christies had estimated the work to sell for £3 to £5 million as part of its 64-lot auction of contemporary works. Legendary art dealer Larry Gagosian snapped it up, bidding in the room and wresting it away from another client on the telephone.
The portrait was one of a series of 11 large self-portraits, five of which are in museums. This piece had been in a private collection since 1974 and has never been published. Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie's Europe said that the work represents Warhol at "the peak of his creative powers." At this point in his career he was internationally recognized as the most important and controversial figure in American Pop Art. The series of self-portraits aren't just an artist using himself as muse but are a bit of a challenge to the art world, an acknowledgment of artist as subject, and star.