Sep 23, 2014 1:29 PM
Rare Warhol paintings headed to NYC auction
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) Elvis Presley. Marlon Brando. Andy Warhol. The A-list trifecta of music, film and art is going on the auction block at Christie's in November.
"Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)" and "Four Marlons" rate among Warhol's most famous portraits. The monumental paintings, each nearly 7 feet high, have never appeared at auction before and could bring a combined total of $130 million when they go up for bid on Nov. 12.
Christie's said they are being sold separately, and estimates for each were not yet available.
The Elvis, executed in ink and silver paint in 1963, depicts the rock 'n' roll heartthrob as a cowboy, armed and shooting from the hip. The Brando silkscreen, created three years later, shows the Hollywood actor on a motorcycle and black leather jacket, an image that's repeated four times.
Both are being sold by German casino company WestSpiel, which acquired them in the late 1970s for one of its casinos.
"Given the current strength of the market, especially for works by Andy Warhol, it is now the right moment to part from these works," WestSpiel director Lothar Dunkel said in a statement.
Warhol produced a series of 22 images of Elvis. His "Double Elvis (Ferus Type)" sold for $37 million at Sotheby's in 2012.
The appetite for Warhol works appears unstoppable. Last fall, his "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)" sold at Sotheby's for $105.4 million, an auction record for the artist.
Brett Gorvy, Christie's international head of post-war and contemporary art, said Warhol loved repetition and used it "both as a way of creating a narrative ... and a way of really commenting on society."
The repetition in "Triple Elvis," also had a cinematic feel, said Gorvy, adding, "You have that sense of cinematic motion of ultimately the gun shooting while it's a static image."
Gorvy called the Brando extremely rare, with only one other four-times Brando in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen.
A "Double Marlon" sold at Christie's for $32.5 million in 2008.
"What's fantastic about this is it's painted on raw linen. So where the silver Elvis is painted on a sprayed surface, here the silk screen is literally impregnated into the raw linen," said Gorvy. "It's the only time that Warhol really tried this."
Associated Press video journalist Bonny Ghosh in New York contributed to this report.