Andy Warholâ€™s Sixteen Jackies was expected to sell for a whopping $30 million at the ‘Contemporary Art Evening Sale’ held at Sothebyâ€™s Art Auction House in New York on May 10th. However the usual big-money art collectors were a little reluctant to part with such big bucks on the night.
Andy Warhol, Sixteen Jackies. 1964. Sold for $20.2 million at Sotheby’s auction to an unidentified telephone bidder.
Despite being the top seller at the auction, Warholâ€™s 16 piece silk screened canvas only managed to draw in two bidders, and eventually sold at its low estimate of $18 million; excluding Sothebyâ€™s fees that in total brought the sale up to $20.2 million. A total of 58 artworks were up for auction, of which 9 failed to sell. The night definitely wasnâ€™t an out and out success, however Sothebyâ€™s still managed to rake in a total of $128.1 million and surpass their low total estimate of Â£120 million. But was it enough?
Andy Warhol, Shadow-Red. 1978. Topped its estimate of $700,000-$900,000 by selling for Â£4.8 million on the night.
Before the auction began on Tuesday, collectors and dealers complained that Sothebyâ€™s were auctioning too many Warhol pieces, as a total of seven were up for sale that night. Attending the auction was Californian billionaire and financier Mr. Eli Broad who commented: â€œItâ€™s all in the material, and to me there was nothing really outstanding.â€ The auction proved that if the estimate was low enough, the dealers and collectors would bid (as was the case with Warhol’s Shadow-Red); however if the price wasnâ€™t right, they just werenâ€™t that interested. This lack of shopping and too much watching raises the question; is the art world tiring of Warholâ€™s pop art, or were Sothebyâ€™s estimates just too high for the current economic climate?
‘Pop Art Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery (Wolfson & Ground Floor Galleries)
11th October 2007 to â€“ 20th January 2008
Starting in October 2007 British and American artists of the Pop Art era will have their work on display side by side at ‘Pop Art Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery in London. This is sure to be an exciting and well attended display, with works including UK artists David Hockney, Peter Blake & Richard Hamilton and from the USA: Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Ray Johnson & Richard Hamilton and art portraits featuring Elvis, John F Kennedy & Marilyn Monroe to name but a few.
In the first in a series of exhibitions on Pop portraits -The National Portrait Gallery will see a lay â€˜chapelâ€™ in honour of Marilyn Monroe, created. This will bring comparisons to a 1960â€™s New York art exhibition that took place a few years after her death, where she was celebrated as the patron saint of celebrity culture.
Infact the exhibition will contain 16 pieces which were actually part of a 1967 display in New York where UK and US artists jointly showed their works in honour of the Hollywood Idol.
Sandy Nairne, the NPG director, said that this era was significant in the history of portraiture, blazing a trail for the cutting edge artists of today, such as Sam Taylor.
The NPG curator, Paul Moorhouse, has spent almost 5 years gathering pieces for the exhibition. But with work such as Richard Hamilton’s: a portrait of John F Kennedy as an astronaut with the quote “together let us touch the starsâ€ from his famous speech, nearby to his portrait of Hugh Gaitskell, showing Hamilton’s anger at his commitment of the Labour party to nuclear weapons, Paul Moorhouse states:
“It will be a double-edged exhibitionâ€¦.Nobody could say that pop art was just one long party.”
‘Pop Art Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery