Sotheby’s is presenting a large selection of ‘Warhol’s Women’, portraits of iconic superstars and muses, November 11-12, as part of their NY contemporary art evening sale. With estimates from $1 million to $30 million.
On 11 and 12 November an unprecedented line up of Andy Warhol’s best known female stars. The selection of seven paintings is headlined by Liz #3 (Early Colored Liz) from 1963, a luminous portrayal of the silver screen goddess on a mint green background (est. in the region of $30 million). The sales will also include one of the very best Warhol portraits of Brigitte Bardot that were commissioned by her former husband Gunter Sachs (est. $10/15 million), Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Judy Garland, Debbie Harry and São Schlumberger. Highlights from the group will be on view in London from 12-16 October before the New York exhibition opens on 7 November.
Alexander Rotter, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Contemporary Art Department, commented: “With his portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, and other female stars, Andy Warhol brilliantly depicts not just the beauty but the essence of these icons. Spanning over 20 years, the group includes some of the most recognizable portrayals of these film, music, and society luminaries. The Liz from 1963 is a particularly exciting centerpiece of our November Evening Sale. Long admired from the artist’s catalogue raisonné, the work has rarely been seen in public and comes to Sotheby’s this autumn having never appeared at auction.”
Andy Warhol’s magnificent Liz #3 (Early Colored Liz) from 1963 is from the most important series of Elizabeth Taylor that Warhol made on colored backgrounds and, as with all but one of these works, the crisp and perfectly sharp Liz #3 measures 40 by 40 inches (est. in the region of $30 million). This archetype of the Liz paintings boasts a distinctively striking mint green background and has only been seen once in 42 years after having appeared in the most important early landmark exhibitions. This series of colored Liz paintings represents the apotheosis of Warhol’s creative vision, both as the technician of the revolutionary silkscreen process and as a monument to the vagaries of mortality, celebrity and fame. As with his images of Marilyn Monroe, Warhol’s depictions of Elizabeth Taylor display not so much his ambition to record the prose of physical likeness, but more his love affair with the drama and glamour of celebrity.
Commissioned by her husband Gunter Sachs, Brigitte Bardot brilliantly captures the actresses’ movie-star status and flawless beauty (est. $10/15 million). The painting has remained in the Sachs Collection since 1974 and is one of only eight works by the artist depicting the actress. Unlike other Warhol portraits that are based on the artist’s own Polaroids, the current work is based on acclaimed photographer Richard Avedon’s iconic 1959 image of the sultry starlet at her peak.
Debbie Harry, from 1980, depicts the lead-signer and public face of British band Blondie (est. $2.5/3.5 million). The work is one of only four such portraits of the star in this rare 42 inches format, two of which are in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The canvas comes from the estate of collector and philanthropist, Peter B. Lewis, Chairman of Progressive Insurance Company and former board chairman of the Guggenheim Museum. (separate release available). The spectacular quadruple Portrait of São Schlumberger from 1974 comes from the collection of distinguished collectors and benefactors, Pierre and São Schlumberger (est. $2/3 million) as part of Sotheby’s offering of The Schlumberger Collection across the Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art auctions in November (separate release available). Significantly, it was Warhol who first sought out his subject for the work and not vice versa.