Saturday, July 21, 2007

Andy Warhol's Turquoise-background Liz at Christie's

Andy Warhol's Turquoise-background Liz at Christie's

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Andy Warhol’s turquoise-background Liz (Colored Liz), 1963. © Christie’s Images Ltd. 2007.

NEW YORK.- On November 13, as one of the leading highlights of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, Christie’s will offer Andy Warhol’s turquoise-background Liz (Colored Liz), 1963. Coolly sexy and stunningly beautiful, Liz (Colored Liz) is part of the series of portraits Warhol executed in the 1960s when his near-obsession with three legendary muses in his life – Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy – drove him to create some of the most iconic portraits of the 20th century. Liz (Colored Liz) is offered by a Private Collector and is expected to realize in excess of $25 million.

Warhol’s celebrity portraits depict figures with larger-than-life personal myths who had achieved levels of stardom that the artist himself desperately coveted. He found his perfect subjects in the three glamorous and universally admired women that he obsessively painted over and over again during the mid 1960s. Warhol himself acknowledged the macabre twist of the project as his attraction to fame came visibly bound with a deep fascination with the inevitable – death. He chose to portray his three semi-goddesses during times of utter distress and beyond. He embarked upon the Monroe series shortly after her suicide had been announced. He executed the Jackie paintings after her husband, President Kennedy, was assassinated. He idolized and immortalized Liz at a point in time when a severe illness led many to believe she would not survive. Death and disaster hide behind every extensive display of glitz and glamour – the eternal message.

However, the Liz portraits take a different stance as they eventually came to depict her recovery. Warhol described, “I started those a long time ago when she was so sick and everybody said she was going to die. Now I am doing them all over, putting bright colors on her lips and eyes.” The present painting, one of a series of twelve, is nothing if not alive – a superbly sophisticated turquoise background mimics and accentuates Liz’s eye shadow while blood-red lips splash verve into the image. In this sensuous fusion of colors, the spectator’s eyes inevitably lock into Liz’s which are of a deep, mesmerizing violet – her famous trademark.

Warhol, by now unanimously revered as one of the most influential, revolutionary and coveted artists of the 20th century, has seen an electrifying development in his market over the past seasons, supported by a widening and truly global audience. Christie’s established a new world auction record for the artist on May 16 when Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) achieved $71.7 million, more than quadrupling the previous record which had been set at Christie’s in November 2006 for Mao at $17.4 million. Out of the ten most expensive Warhol paintings sold at auction, eight were handled by Christie’s for a total amount of $187 million. Auction: Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale November 13 at 7 p.m. Viewing: London, Hong Kong, Moscow, Los Angeles, New York October, November.

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