Sothebys To Offer Three Self Portraits By Andy Warhol at Its Contemporary Art Auction

LONDON.- Sotheby’s announced that its forthcoming Evening auction of Contemporary Art, to be held on Wednesday, February 27th during the company’s first stand-alone week of Winter Contemporary Art sales in London, will be highlighted by a late, rare trinity of canvases by Andy Warhol, entitled Three Self Portraits (1986). The works will be unveiled at Sotheby’s New York galleries on Saturday, January 19th.

Francis Outred, Head of Evening auctions, Sotheby’s London Contemporary Art department, said: “We are delighted to be able to handle these important self portraits by Andy Warhol which were acquired by the present owner directly from the artist’s landmark exhibition at Anthony d’Offay gallery, London in 1986. The transaction was completed the day before Warhol died tragically on 22nd February 1987. A trinity of self-portraits in the red, white and blue of the American flag, there could not be a more apt eulogy to the most important artist of the second half of the last century, the art world revolutionary who did more than any other to find a visual lexicon capable of documenting the changing landscape of post-war capitalist America. Other works from the landmark exhibition today grace the collections of some of the world’s most important institutions, such as the Tate in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.”

Although Warhol made self portraits throughout his artistic life, it is the late examples and the 1966 ones which are viewed as having been groundbreaking. As Georg Frei and Neil Printz, who created the Warhol catalogue raisonné, have stated, “Warhol’s 1966 Self-Portrait is probably the most well-known of the three versions he produced during the 1960s and, with his Self-Portrait of 1986, one of the most representative and iconic images of the artist” (Georg Frei and Neil Printz, Eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 2B, Paintings and Sculptures 1964-1969).

The works represent the final, definitive self-image that Warhol left for posterity. The progenitor of Pop, the arbiter of consumerism, he depicted Marilyn, Elvis and Liz with the same dispassionate technique employed in the seminal Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings, packaged as marketable icons. However, it was Warhol who went on to become the ultimate icon, more famous than many of the celebrities he selected, and it is therefore the self portraits of his career which chart the rise of a brand in its own right. With the current works, we see the brand at the height of 1980s excess, mired in darkness. With Warhol’s skills with the silkscreen perfectly honed, these images are flawless and filled with a strong inky black surface.

New York exhibition dates: Saturday, January 19th – Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008. Schedule of February Contemporary Art sales: Wednesday 27 February Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Thursday 28 February Contemporary Art Day Sale (Morning and Afternoon sessions). Viewing dates: Friday 22 February 9 am – 4.30 pm, Saturday 23 February 12 noon – 5 pm, Sunday 24 February 12 noon – 5 pm, Monday 25 February 9 am – 4.30 pm, Tuesday 26 February 9 am – 4.30 pm, Wednesday 27 February 9 am – 12 noon. Selected highlights from the Contemporary Art Evening Sale will be on view alongside Impressionist & Modern Art: Tuesday, January 29th – Tuesday, February 5th, 2008.