A Constellation of Warhol Starlets at Fall Auctions
Seven portraits of iconic women with estimates from $1 million to $30 million.
Sotheby’s is having a serendipitous Warhol moment: the auction house has announced a lineup of no fewer than seven Andy Warhol portraits of iconic women at its upcoming November 11-12 contemporary art sales. Ranging in estimate from $1 million to $30 million, and all from different consignors, it seems there is something for the budding art buyer and the seasoned mega-collector alike, including: Liz #3 (Early Colored Liz), 1963; a 1974 portrait of Brigitte Bardot; Marilyn Monroe; Jacqueline Kennedy; Judy Garland; Debbie Harry; and São Schlumberger.
“Spanning over 20 years,” said Alexander Rotter, Sotheby’s co-head of contemporary art worldwide, “the group includes some of the most recognizable portrayals of these film, music and society luminaries.” Asked what he thought about so many portraits of Warhol sirens coming together at once, Rotter said: “It is always a pleasure to have even one of Andy’s women in a season, but the stars certainly aligned to form the unprecedented group on offer.”
Rotter said Liz, which is estimated in the region of $30 million, has rarely been seen in public and never offered at auction before. The Bardot painting (estimate: $10–15 million) has remained in the Sachs collection since 1974. As with the numerous other Warhol Bardot portraits that Sachs owned, this was a direct commission from Warhol, though it is based on a 1959 Richard Avedon image as opposed to one of the artist’s own Polaroids. Artnet News recently caught a peek of another Warhol portrait of Bardot hung over a bed in Sachs’s New York apartment (which is still in the family), while there for an art salon hosted by Gertrude and curated by Sach’s granddaughter Roya.
The 1980 portrait of iconic Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry (estimate: $2.5–3.5 million) was consigned by the estate of Peter B. Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance Company and former board chairman of the Guggenheim Museum.
Watch Warhol create a digital portrait of Debbie Harry on the Amiga computer in this 1985 YouTube clip. He also autographed Harry’s leg to celebrate that she was decked out in bright Stephen Sprouse clothing inspired by . . .Warhol of course.
Highlights go on view in London on Monday.
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