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.”