Hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen has reportedly enlisted Phillips de Pury to auction off the portrait of the late screen star.
He is asking for at least $20m at its major sale of contemporary art on May 12 in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
The 1963 silkscreen, “Liz #5,” depicts the actress – who died on Wednesday, aged 79 – during her “BUtterfield 8” heyday, her red lips forming a serene smile and her eyelids swathed in blue eyeshadow. The work comes from Warhol’s signature 1960s series of pop-culture icons such as Marilyn Monroe and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
Near the market’s peak four years ago, Christie’s sold actor Hugh Grant’s 1963 Warhol portrait of Taylor, “Liz,” for $23.5 million.
The auction house has tried to leave as little as possible to chance. It has arranged for outside investors to guarantee Cohen an undisclosed price for the painting unless another bidder offers even more during the auction – an arrangement called a third-party guarantee.
The current auction record for Warhol was set four years ago when Christie’s got $71.7m for the artist’s 1963 “Green Car Crash.”
“As Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips de Pury brace for their big fall auctions in New York, starting with a sale of 71 Impressionist and Modern paintings, drawings and sculptures at Sotheby’s on Monday night, anxiety is the dominant mood.”
With much news and controversy surrounding today’s opening of Damien Hirst’s massive auction Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, The Wall Street Journal offers a perspective on the massive undertaking. With millions of dollars at stake, the auction and its surrounding events have raised some interesting issues including how Hirst’s auction is anticipated to become the most expensive auction of artwork from any living artist ever, the decision to bypass galleries straight for an auction format and how such expensive art fits in the current economical landscape. Few if any will ever own a piece of Damien Hirst art, however the Sotheby’s catalog for this auction is available for $80 but faces an almost certain increase in value.
An artist of great extravagance , Damien Hirst’s memorable works through his illustrious career have included a $100 million diamond encrusted skull and formaldehyde preserved sharks. With the changing art landscape, Damien Hirst attempts to strike a balance between his involvement with galleries and the sale of art via auctions with 223 pieces of art produced between 2007 and 2008 and valued at £65 million (approximately $121 million USD) set for the auction block on September 15th and 16th via Sotheby’s London. Based on previous experiences, Hirst had this to say regarding the auction route, “After the success of the Pharmacy auction, I always felt I would like to do another auction. It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art. Although there is risk involved, I embrace the challenge of selling my work in this way. I never want to stop working with my galleries. This is different. The world’s changing, ultimately I need to see where this road leads.” Among the pieces, four of them will be sold to benefit the following charities, The Demelza, Hospice Care for Children, Survival International, Strummerville and Kids Company, with each hoping to rake in between £400,000-600,000 each (approximately $750K USD – $1.1 million USD). The whole list of art can be seen over at Sothebys.com.
Sotheby’s London will present Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, a major auction of new works by Damien Hirst, on the15th and 16th of September 2008. Beautiful Inside My Head Forever is an historic sale which incorporates an extraordinary range of works by Mr. Hirst, all created over the past two years.
From monumental formaldehyde sculptures to new paintings which expand on the artist’s classic themes such as butterflies, cancer cells and pills; from exquisite new cabinets to insightful preparatory drawings, the works in the sale document the full breadth of the artist’s creative output.
Coinciding with the 20-year anniversary of the celebrated Freeze exhibition curated by Mr. Hirst in London, which launched the careers of Hirst and his contemporaries, the auction affirms Hirst’s position as a boundary breaker; one who has never been just an artist working in the traditional vein.
Beautiful Inside My Head Forever follows the now legendary Pharmacy auction, organised by Sotheby’s in 2004, which raised £11.1 million. The auction attracted an unprecedented number of bidders, many of whom spent hours queuing before the sale, eager to bid for a work by the UK’s leading 21st-century artist.
Damien Hirst said: “After the success of the Pharmacy auction, I always felt I would like to do another auction. It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art. Although there is risk involved, I embrace the challenge of selling my work in this way. I never want to stop working with my galleries. This is different. The world’s changing, ultimately I need to see where this road leads.”
The centerpiece of the auction, The Golden Calf, is a monumental new sculpture: a bull in formaldehyde, whose head is crowned by a solid gold disc and whose hooves and horns are cast in 18- carat solid gold. Encased in a gold-plated stainless steel and glass box, it measures 215.4 by 320 by 137.2 cm. This exceptional work, which unites the artist’s interests in science, religion, beauty and death, is estimated to realize £8-12 million.
Cheyenne Westphal, Chairman Contemporary Art Sotheby’s Europe and Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Senior International Specialist, said: “Damien Hirst is the leading artist of his generation. The extraordinary body of new work to be showcased at Sotheby’s is among his best yet: ambitious, exquisite and incredibly powerful.”
Jay Jopling said: “Damien has always been a mould breaker and I’ve stood alongside him in all his ventures including his strategic forays into the auction world, which have certainly helped to broaden his market. 8,601 flawless diamonds notwithstanding, ours has never been a traditional marriage and I look forward to many more adventures to come.”
Gagosian Gallery said: “As Damien’s long-term gallery, we’ve come to expect the unexpected. He can certainly count on us to be in the room with paddle in hand.”
Sotheby’s next sale in Paris of 19th Century Paintings & Drawings, on June 25, features a sculptural masterpiece by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904): the original plaster model for Corinthia, consigned by Gérôme’s descendants. The definitive marble version, unfinished when Gérôme died, was completed by his assistant Emile Décorchement and shown at the Salon of 1904. This plaster sculpture of exceptional quality, adorned with elements in wax, represents a perfect example of Gérôme’s work, blending realism with Art Nouveau decorative inspiration, and fully illustrating his talent as a sculptor.