The Year of the Rabbit – Playboy Auctions Art at Christie’s

Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner

The Playboy magazine has teamed up with Christie’s for a sale of priceless artworks. The auction dubbed, The Year of the Rabbit is scheduled to take place on December 8th and feature 125 artworks. According to founder Hugh Hefner, the magazine has had a great contribution in changing the direction of commercial art, blurring the lines between fine and popular art.

The sale features 80 photographs, more than a dozen contemporary works and 24 cartoons. The items set for auction include a photograph of comedian Dan Aykroyd in a conehead costume with a bunny-suited Pamela Anderson, a photo of the magazine’s 1953 debut cover of Marilyn Monroe, an early 1960s shot of Brigitte Bardot, a Herb Ritts photo of Ellie Macpherson, portraits of Duke Ellington and Dennis Hopper, and many others. The top item of the auction is expected to be a scarlet-lipstick mouth by pop artist Tom Wesselmann which is expected to fetch between $2 million to $3 million.

Dali’s Playmate, a 1966 watercolor, will be among the standout fine art pieces of the collection, estimated to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000. Hung until recently in Hefner’s bedroom at the Playboy Mansion, Dali’s painting was one of the 11 works chosen for the The Playmate as Fine Art pictorial for the magazine’s January 1967 Playmate review issue, that prompted artists to create Playmate-inspired art.

The December auction will be the second time Christie’s has sold items from Playboy, after offering memorabilia and ephemera from the magazine’s collection on its 50th anniversary in 2003.

[Source: The Associated Press]

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