The Most Expensive: Andy Warhol Portrait Fetches $32.6 Million

A rather gaunt and wild-haired self-portrait of the famed artist, filmmaker, producer and author Andy Warhol fetched an impressive $32.6 million at a New York auction this week, at around twice the presale estimate. 

Self Portrait by Andy Warhol Fetches $32.6 MillionWhile it is certainly steep, this is not the highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting.  His 1963 piece, ‘Eight Elvises’ went for a cool $100 million.  In the art world, few artists ever hit the $100 million benchmark.  Artists that have include the likes of Pablo Picasso, Gustav Klimt, Jackson Pollock,Willem de Kooning and of course, Andy Warhol.  I am thinking I could buy a luxury yacht or a few hundred luxury rental cars for the price of that Warhol painting.

It seems there are still a select few art collectors seeking rare pieces of art in this volatile economy.  I assume they know where the “good” pieces are, and when they become available, pockets deepen.

The piece, appropriately titled ‘Self-Portrait‘, was completed a year prior to Warhol’s death and measures 9 square feet.  It is comprised of silkscreen ink and acrylic paint on canvas.  This piece was in the hands of designer Tom Ford, and went to an anonymous buyer.

Self Portrait is among the higher price-fetching pieces by Warhol that sold at auctions, with his later works tending to bring in the most dough.  According to Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s chief auctioneer and head of contemporary-art department,

“People are willing to break (price) boundaries with late Warhols”. 

This is apparently true.   Sotheby’s is making a mint themselves, charging 25 percent of the hammer price up to the $50,000 mark, 20 percent from $50,000 to $1 million, and 12 percent for all sales above $1 million.  So many irreplaceable and valuable pieces of art pass through Sotheby’s each year, it is no wonder it is such a prestigious and respected platform.

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