Part One, a work by American conceptual artist Mike Bidlow, “Not a Picasso (bathing with a beach ball)Estimated $60,000 to $80,000, versus $1.3 million with fees.
The collector Peter Brant, seated in the third row, bought the third lot, Francesco Clemente”Fourteen stations, No. 11,” for $1.9 million, more than estimates of $80,000 to $120,000. Then dealer Larry Gagosian bought the blue, green, and purple Cy Twombly on shingle for $17 million, above the high estimate of $15 million.
In comparison, Marilyn’s silkscreen—which Rutter recently dubbed “the most important painting of the 20th century to be auctioned in a generation”—looked like something of a shock. Yes, it set a record, but pre-auction speculation drove the painting up to $400 million. Instead, the auctioneer seemed to take hold of the bids, with the painting eventually going to Gagosian; It was not clear who would bid on his behalf.
“Expectations were very, very, very high,” said technical advisor Abigail Asher. “It was an incredibly healthy price, but at the same time I think the buyer got a bargain. It’s one of the icons of 20th century art.”
Some have questioned whether the stock market’s poor performance on Monday silenced Marilyn’s bid. Warhol’s painting, one of five in a series, is based on a promotional image from the actress’ Niagara movie, part of the “Shot Marilyn” photo series. In 1964, a woman walked into the Warhol Factory Studio with a gun and shot a stack of Marilyn’s four paintings. (The painting up for auction at Christie’s was not pierced by a bullet.)
The brothers in Oman bought the business from media magnate SI Newhouse Jr. , in 1998; That year, Newhouse bought Warhol’s “Orange Marilyn” (1964) at Sotheby’s. $17.3 million. After Newhouse’s death, in 2017, billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin purchased this business privately for about $200 million.
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