Sotheby’s To Offer Pristine Roy Lichtenstein Painting for $50 Million

The current record for a Lichtenstein, set in 2013, is $56.3 million.

Roy Lichtenstein, The Ring (Engagement) (1962).
(Estimate: in the region of $50 million).
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.


For its May 12 spring contemporary evening sale in New York, Sotheby’s announced today that it has snagged a blockbuster consignment, Roy Lichtenstein’s The Ring (Engagement) (1962) and will offer the work with a price “in the region of $50 million.”

The current record for a work by Lichtenstein is $56.3 million, paid for the 1963 painting Woman with Flowered Hat, executed in a Picasso-esque style, and sold at Christie’s New York in May 2013. (See: Two Giant Lichtenstein Sculptures Will Grace the Parrish Museum Lawn.)

Another dazzling aspect that the house is promoting to interested buyers? In its 53-year history, the painting has only ever had two owners. It was consigned from the collection of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Stefan Edlis. The Ring “encapsulates all of the major themes of the artist’s most acclaimed and sustained body of work,” according to a statement from Sotheby’s.

Edlis acquired the work at Sotheby’s New York in 1997 for $2.2 million. The owner before that, antiques dealer Jean Marie Rossi, had acquired it from legendary dealer Ileana Sonnabend in Paris for about $1,000 (the price he paid was 6,000 French francs). (See: Giant Lichtenstein Sculpture Lands at the Minneapolis Museum of Art and Roy Lichtenstein’s Painted BMW Art Car Featured at Art Basel.)

Fittingly, the painting will be on view in Los Angeles next Tuesday and Wednesday (March 25–26) for interested buyers and gawkers alike.

Between 1961 and 1964 Lichtenstein created a series of painting based on scenes from love and war comic books. The Ring is one of the largest from this period. It has been included in museum exhibitions, including at the Tate in 1968, the Fondation Beyeler in 1998, and several museums on a 2012 traveling retrospective stopping at Tate Modern, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Centre Pompidou.

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