Pop art figurehead Andy Warhol owns some of the most lucrative paintings ever sold, including one that is the most expensive in the world.
the Blow Sage Blue Marilyn by American art icon Andy Warhol, became the most expensive of all his paintings when it was sold at auction by Christie’s in New York for $195 million. The price achieved by it also made the painting the most expensive 20th century artwork of all time, surpassing Pablo Picasso’s 1955 work. The Women of Algiers (Version ‘O’), which sold for $179.4 million at a Christie’s auction in 2015.
The illustration depicts the screen icon Marilyn Monroe, on a sage blue background. Monroe’s photo is based on promotional material for her film niagara (1953) and portrays the Hollywood star with his distinctive mole.
The enigmatic Andy Warhol and his most expensive paintings ever sold
Andy Warhol was born on August 6, 1928. During his long and illustrious career, Warhol was influenced (and also counter-influenced) by everything from art to movies to music. Some of the subjects of his most famous works are related to the world of entertainment, such as Monroe, Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando.
Warhol is best known as a legend of pop art – a movement that took off in the 1960s. Using a fast and cheap commercial printing technique, he mass-produced screen-printed versions of photographs and other pictures. He also pioneered computer-generated art on Amiga computers in 1985, two years before his death on February 22, 1987.
Besides art, Warhol also made films. Some of his best known films are Eat (1963), my scammer (1965), lupe (1966) and blue film (1969).
Race Riot (four parts) (62.8 million USD)
The painting, using acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, was created by Warhol in 1964 and auctioned by Christie’s in 2014. Warhol created the pop art in three different colors from a photograph original shot by Charles Moore, which depicted the oppression of the African-American community. members during the May 1963 race riots in the United States. Moore’s photo, which shows a police dog attacking an African-American man, was first published in Life magazine on May 17 of the same year.
Describing Warhole’s adaptation of the picture, auction house Christie’s wrote: “Like the history of Moore’s photographs, Warhol’s startling screen-printed paintings pose important questions about the nature and function of imagery. media, about how we see and react to news and how its images can also be used to provoke and manipulate us, and how the power of even the most shocking and provocative “realistic” imagery disintegrates under constant repetition or, alternatively, how the same images can be used, as in advertising, to manipulate an audience and even government policy in a given direction.”
The men in her life (63.4 million USD)
Established in 1962, The men in her life talks about Elizabeth Taylor and her connections. It is also one of Warhol’s first serigraphs.
The painting is one of only four in the series of the same name, and is also one of only two in the series, rendered in a large-scale multi-image format. Of the four, this painting is the largest.
The men in her life was auctioned by Phillips in 2010.
Four Marlons (69.6 million USD)
Four Marlon is the name of the painting, featuring four identical prints of Hollywood legend Marlon Brando, in a black and white checkered pattern. Like the others, Warhol used his method of screen printing, on unprimed linen, to make the painting in 1966.
Sold by Christie’s in 2014, the painting is based on Brando’s appearance in the 1953 film The wild, in which the actor played a motorcycle gang leader named Johnny Strabler. Warhol had used the same image for his 1963 painting Marlon silver, which, as the name suggests, features Brando’s character on a silver background.
Burning Green Car I (71.7 million USD)
This painting was created by Warhol between the years 1962 and 1964 and is about multiple prints of an image of an overturned car. Also, you can see smoke coming out of it.
Christie’s auction house, which sold the painting in 2007, said in its essay on the lot that it was “a haunting work whose macabre and endlessly confusing imagery surprises with its austere photographic presentation and rehearsal of an unremarkable suburban street shockingly transformed into a gruesome scene of disaster bordering on that of a surreal nightmare.
The painting is part of Warhol’s Death and disaster corpus. There are six different “car crashes” documented by the artist based on numerous accidents.
“Warhol’s Car Crashes remain among the most powerful, thought-provoking and provocative paintings by any post-war artist,” Christie’s said.
Turquoise Marilyn (80 million USD)
Turquoise Marilyn is one of five 40-inch by 40-inch paintings, including the The Marilyns slaughtered series, each of which is made from the same image of Marilyn Monroe. Each of the paintings has a different color scheme – red, orange, light blue, turquoise and sage blue.
One day, Warhol’s associate shot the stack of paintings, gouging a bullet hole, through the foreheads of all but the Turquoise Marilyn. The other four have been repaired.
Created in 1962, silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas, was painted after Monroe’s suicide. It was reportedly sold to billionaire art collector Steven Cohen in 2007.
Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] ($81.9)
As the name suggests, this artwork features music legend Elvis Presley in three identical black and white images. Warhol created the 2.1 meter tall artwork in 1963. It is based on a publicity image of Elvis Presley, from his film Blazing Star (1960). That’s why it’s placed on a silver background, as a tribute to the big screen that Elvis graced.
The three Elvis appear side by side, striking what Christie’s describes as a “confident posture, with Elvis staring directly out of the canvas with his famous ‘baby blue’ eyes.”
The work was auctioned in 2014.
Eight Elvis (100 million USD)
One of the most expensive Andy Warhol paintings ever sold, Eight Elvis is a screen-printed painting, also created in 1963 as Triple Elvis [Ferus Type].
But instead of three, there are eight images of Elvis Presley side by side on a long canvas. It was once part of the 11-meter canvas containing 16 copies of the music icon. The photo used in Eight Elvis is the same as that used in Triple Elvis [Ferus Type]. the Eight Elvis stands 3.6 meters tall and is one of a kind, unlike the 22 versions of Dual Elvis [Ferus Type] featuring two images of Elvis.
Eight Elvis was sold at private auction via Philippe Ségalot and was reportedly purchased by the State of Qatar.
Silver Car Crash (double disaster) (USD 105 million)
Another masterpiece of his Death and disaster series, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) is considered one of Warhol’s greatest works of art.
It is made up of two canvases each measuring over 2.4 meters high and a combined width of 3.9 meters. It is also one of only seven pieces by Warhol in double-canvas format. The work has the color silver, which dominates the canvas. Sotheby’s, the auction house that sold the artwork in 2013, said the silver provided “the expansive surface with a constantly adjusted reflective quality that is absent from the monochromatic acrylic backgrounds of other paintings.”
Until the sale of Taken from Marilyn Sage Blue, the Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) was the most expensive Andy Warhol painting ever sold.
(Main image: Courtesy of Christie’s; Featured Image: Courtesy of Christie’s/@ChristiesInc/Twitter)
This story first appeared on PrestigeOnline Hong Kong.