$38.4 million sale of the Andy Warhol’s first self-portrait, was the highlight of a Christie’s contemporary sale which totalled $301.7 million. Christie’s stormed ahead of rival Sotheby’s in a dramatic 65-lot sale which totalled $301.7 million against a pre-sale estimate of $214.8 – $299.3 million and sold a whopping 95% by lot and 99% by value. Warhol’s very first self-portrait was sold after two competing bidders kept raising their price in increments of $100,000, causing Christie’s auctioneer to call it the longest lot in history.
Warhol’s Self-Portrait, 1963-64, was sold by the estate of Detroit collector Florence Barron who commissioned the work for $1,600.
Another Warhol self-portrait, this time showing the wild-haired artist in diabolical red against a dark background, sold for $27.5 million, a hefty but relatively disappointing performance that fell below the $30 million low pre-sale estimate. In total, the eight Warhols on offer raised a combined $90.99 million with premium added.
Other big sellers included an untitled oil by Mark Rothko, selling for $33.7 million, well above the $22 million high pre-sale estimate, an untitled 1967 work by Cy Twombly, which sold for $15.2 million and Cindy Sherman, whose 1981 untitled color print fetched $3.89 million.
Francis Bacon’s triptych, Three Studies for Self-Portrait sold for $25.3 million, right around the estimated price.
Wednesday’s auction followed Tuesday’s contemporary art sale at Sotheby’s in New York at which Warhol’s Sixteen Jackies sold for $20.2 million.