June 18, 2013
Warhol's Brando silkscreen could fetch $20 million at New York auction
An Andy Warhol silkscreen of actor Marlon Brando, clad in leather astride a motorcycle from the movie "The Wild One," is expected to sell for $20 million when it hits the auction block in November, Christie's said.
"Marlon," a 1966 silkscreen which is one of the late pop artist's most famous Hollywood portraits, will be a star lot at the auction house's sale of post-war and contemporary art in November. It is being sold from the collection of businessman and Museum of Modern Art trustee Donald L. Bryant Jr.
"Alongside his portraits of Elvis Presley, Warhol's image of Marlon Brando exudes a raw sexuality and intense power rarely found in his work," said Brett Gorvy, Christie's chairman for post-war and contemporary art.
The work is unusual in that Warhol executed it on raw, unpainted linen, Christie's said, accentuating the image's "rough and ready" quality, while its pristine clarity conveys Brando's intensity and strength.
Gorvy described the silkscreen from an image Warhol took from a publicity photo for the 1953 movie about motorcycle gangs as "the archetype of cool and glamour."
The work also ties in with Warhol's fascination with commerce and capitalism, Christie's noted.
"By taking the circulated publicity picture of an actor, someone who has adopted a guise, Warhol has commented on the superficiality of the world of sales," it said in a statement announcing the sale.
Despite his prolific output, Warhol's works continue to fetch some astounding prices at auction, including the artist's record of $71.7 million set in 2007 by "Green car crash - Green burning car I".
A four-panel self-portrait, Warhol's first, soared to $38.4 million in May 2011, while his "Double Marlon," another Brando-inspired work from 1966, fetched $32.5 million in 2008. Four months ago one of Warhol's Elvis works sold for $37 million at Sotheby's.
"Marlon" will be sold at Christie's New York headquarters on November 14. The sale coincides with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibit of works by the pop art icon