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On Saturday, London’s Robilant + Voena sold one of the most expensive works so far noted at TEFAF, as Andy Warhol’s large-scale, 90 by 70 inch “Knives” from 1981-82, executed in synthetic polymer and silkscreen on canvas and blown up from a Polaroid taken by the artist, sold to a European collector in the region of the $3.2 million asking price.

Painted near the nadir of Warhol’s career, the group of three knives was sourced from a Bowery restaurant supply store and brought back to the artist’s studio to be arranged and photographed.

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On November 11 and 12, Sotheby’s will offer an unprecedented line-up of celebrity portraits by Andy Warhol during its Contemporary Art sales in New York. Led by a luminous portrait of Elizabeth Taylor titled “Liz #3 (Early Colored Liz),” the lot includes paintings of Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Judy Garland, Debbie Harry, and the socialite São Schlumberger.

“Liz #3,” which presents the beguiling actress on a striking mint green background, has only been exhibited once since 1972.

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Christie’s has announced that two monumental works by Andy Warhol will lead its highly anticipated Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on November 12. The silkscreen paintings, “Triple Elvis [Ferus Type]” (1963) and “Four Marlons” (1966), are expected to fetch around $70 million each. Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s, suspects that interested buyers could try to acquire both works and keep them as a unique pair. Warhol’s current record at auction was set last November at Sotheby’s when his two-panel painting “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” sold for $104.5 million.

“Triple Elvis” and “Four Marlons” are being offered for sale by the German casino company WestSpiel.

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A rare opportunity to see Andy Warhol's Shadows installation at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) from September 20, 2014 – February 2, 2015 has been announced for autumn. The exhibition marks the first West Coast presentation of Shadows (1978-79), a monumental painting in 102 parts. Andy Warhol: Shadows is organized by Dia Art Foundation and coordinated by MOCA Senior Curator Bennett Simpson.
Conceived as one work in multiple parts, Warhol’s exceptional series of variously silkscreened and hand painted canvases features two different compositions, ranging in hue from an electric green to a somber brown. Culled from photographs of shadows taken in The Factory, the artist’s New York City Studio, the Shadowspaintings alternate between positive and negative imprints. With few exceptions, “the peak” or black positive always appears on a colored ground, while “the cap,” a smaller, colored form, hovers before a black background.

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014 14:40

Art Basel Kicks Off with Impressive Sales

Art Basel, one of the world’s top modern and contemporary art fairs, opened on Tuesday, June 17, with a private preview that saw a number of impressive sales. Described as the “Olympics of the art world,” this year’s show features approximately 300 galleries from across the globe exhibiting the work of more than 4,000 artists, ranging from Modern masters to emerging contemporary artists.  

Welcoming an elite group of collectors, the opening night preview proved that the market for modern and contemporary art shows no signs of slowing down. Andy Warhol’s “Self-Portrait (Fright Wig)” (1986), which was being offered by London’s Skarstedt Gallery and carried an asking price of $32 million, was the most expensive work sold during the fair’s opening day. The silkscreen was snapped up by an American collector during the first 15 minutes of the event.

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Fifty years ago, during the summer of 1964, Andy Warhol began working on silkscreen paintings of flowers, a subject that would preoccupy him for the rest of his life. When Warhol had his first solo exhibition at the prestigious Leo Castelli Gallery in New York in November 1964 it consisted entirely of Flowers. Best known for his vibrant pop imagery and searing commentary on art and popular culture, Warhol’s flower imagery reveals a softer, more intimate side of the artist. In retrospect, it is also a provocative series, appropriating a powerful symbol later identified with flower-power counterculture of the 1960s, the age of peace, love, and anti-war protest. The Flowers are the only subject that Warhol revisited throughout his entire career and in almost every medium. The artist’s floral imagery is among the quietest, most beautiful, and least studied. The Cheekwood exhibition is a rare occasion when Warhol’s artificial flower images meet the floral abundance of an actual garden. 

This exhibition traces Warhol’s engagement with floral images throughout his career, beginning with a group of his earliest commercial illustrations, drawn in the 1950s, and his creation of the Flowers series in 1964, to photographs, paintings, and screen prints through 1986 before his untimely death the following year. The development of Warhol’s career can be seen in the progression from the delicacy of the early illustrations to the boldness of the 1964 series to the tension between the beauty and banality of the photographs and prints late in his career.

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Christie’s sold $134.6 million of contemporary art in New York in an hour as international buyers from 26 countries chased after works including Andy Warhol’s electric chair silkscreen and Martin Kippenberger’s slouching man in his underwear.

Titled “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday,” the auction yesterday surpassed its high target of $124.1 million as 11 artist records were set, including those for Richard Prince, On Kawara, Wade Guyton, Dan Colen and Kippenberger. Of the 35 lots offered, all but one found buyers. Similar to last week’s Impressionist and modern art auctions, Asian collectors competed fiercely, winning at least two of the top 10 lots, Christie’s said.

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Acquavella Galleries in New York is currently hosting the exhibition “Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing: Works from the Schorr Family Collection.” The show was curated by Fred Hoffman, who was introduced to Basquiat by fellow art dealer Larry Gagosian in 1982. Hoffman helped Basquiat produce five editions of prints, which were published in 1983 by New City Editions in Venice, California. Hoffman also assisted in the production of the artist’s 1984 silkscreen paintings and co-curated Basquiat’s retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2005. He is the Ahmanson Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

“Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing” features 22 works on paper and two paintings from the collection of Herbert and Lenore Schorr, Los Angeles-based collectors who met the artist in 1981, before his first exhibition in New York. The Schorrs quickly became Basquiat’s devoted collectors, supporters, and friends. While the couple owns several seminal Basquiat paintings, what makes their holdings so unique is their vast collection of works on paper. Hoffman said, “The Schorrs astutely understood that working on paper was equally central to his practice as painting on canvas. The collection demonstrates both the focus and ambition that the artist invested in the medium of drawing.” Drawing is an essential component of Basquiat’s graffiti-inspired Neo-expressionist and Primitivist works. Between 1980-1988, the artist produced approximately 1,000 works on paper that exemplify his frenetic, bold, and gestural style.

The two paintings on view at Acquavella Galleries include a portrait that Basquiat painted of the Schorrs and “Leonardo da Vinci’s Greatest Hits,” which was part of an exhibition at Fun Gallery in New York in 1983. The show didn’t receive any critical attention and the Schorrs were the only people to buy a painting. “Leonardo da Vinci’s Greatest Hits” is now considered a foremost example of Basquiat’s work. Lenore Schorr said, “We had so much confidence in him from the beginning and couldn’t understand why other people couldn’t see it.”

Today, Basquiat, who died in 1988 at the age of 27, commands extremely high prices at auction. In May 2013, “Dustheads” sold for $48.8 million at Christie’s, setting the record for Basquiat at auction. His work is included in private and public collections throughout the world, including the Broad Art Foundation in California, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Museu d’art Contemporani de Barcelona in Spain, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Acquavella Galleries was founded by Nicholas Acquavella in 1921. The gallery initially specialized in works of the Italian Renaissance, but in 1960, when Acquavella’s son William joined the business, the gallery expanded to major works of the 19th and 20th centuries, including masters of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. The gallery has since expanded and the entire scope of the 20th century is now represented.

“Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing: Works from the Schorr Family Collection” will remain on view at Acquavella Galleries through June 13.

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Christie’s announced that it will offer Andy Warhol’s “White Marilyn” at auction in New York on May 13. The work, which was created in 1962 shortly after Marilyn Monroe’s untimely death, is regarded as one of the finest examples from Warhol’s seminal Death and Disasters series. It was also one of the Pop artist’s first silkscreens, which soon became his medium of choice.

“White Marilyn” carries a pre-sale estimate of $12 million-$18 million. The iconic portrait was one of eight Marilyn silkscreens selected for Warhol’s first one-man show at Eleanor Ward’s renowned Stable Gallery in New York, and was once part of the gallery owner’s personal collection.

Laura Paulson, Christie’s Chairman and International Director for Post-War and Contemporary Art, said, “We are extremely proud to present White Marilyn, one of the nucleuses of Warhol's first ever and most significant solo exhibition organized by Eleanor Ward for the Stable Gallery in 1962. With his unique ability to fuse painting and photography into an unforgettably iconic image, Warhol condensed all the themes of his art in this magnificent ‘White Marilyn’ which keeps one such icon alive and forever in style. Compared to the perfectly coiffed media propagated publicity images of the actress, in ‘White Marilyn’ she appears touched by humanity, and transcends reality to become a modern Saint. Warhol dedicated this work to Ward and expressed his gratitude scattering hearts on the reverse of the painting.”

In November 2013, Warhol’s “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)," another silkscreen from his Death and Disaster series, realized $105.4 million at Sotheby’s -- a record for the artist at auction.

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A portrait of actress Farrah Fawcett by Pop artist Andy Warhol is the subject of a heated legal battle. Actor Ryan O’Neal, who had a long relationship with Fawcett, is fighting the University of Texas at Austin for ownership of the work.

When she passed away in 2009, Fawcett left her art collection to the University of Texas, her alma mater. However, O’Neal is claiming that Warhol had personally given him the silkscreen of Fawcett. The case, which went to trial Wednesday, is expected to take two weeks to resolve.

Warhol’s portrait of Fawcett is estimated to be worth $30 million.

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