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Art Market Gets a Boost from Sotheby's, Warhol

Sotheby’s enjoyed a windfall Wednesday when the auction house’s New York HQ nearly doubled its estimated high of $67.9 million for its contemporary art bid-fest, in which Andy Warhol’s works figured prominently among the biggest-selling successes of the evening. One Warhol silk-screen painting in particular was the focus of furious bidding and featured a somewhat ironic image (especially considering the dollar’s ongoing struggles on the world market). –KA

The New York Times:

Just a year after the art market was in the doldrums with the world’s financial markets, buyers with deep pockets were not shy about stepping up for tried-and-true artists. The sale topped Sotheby’s expectations, totaling $134.4 million, well above its $67.9 million high estimate. Of the 54 works on offer, only two went unsold. The evening also eclipsed Christie’s auction of postwar and contemporary art on Tuesday night, which brought in $74.1 million. While both sales featured big-name artists, Sotheby’s had just enough blockbusters to make for a successful evening.

In pristine condition, “200 One Dollar Bills” was enticing to any Pop Art collector. Add to that the provenance — it had once been part of the celebrated collection of Robert C. Scull, the taxi tycoon — and it was irresistible.

[…] Warhols of all ages and subjects brought strong prices. A 1965 self-portrait with a top estimate of $1.5 million sold to Laurence Graff, the London jeweler, for $5.4 million ($6.1 million with Sotheby’s commission). Warhol himself gave the work to Cathy Naso, who as a teenager in the mid-1960s worked after school in his legendary Factory.

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