Andy Warhol may be best known for his artistic icons of Marilyn Monroe, Chairman Mao and Campbell’s soup cans, but next month a “painful” silkscreen print of a disfigured car crash will be on sale at Sotheby’s in New York. According to a press release, it’s expected to sell for over $80 million on November 16 during auction week.
“White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times)” is a huge picture that Warhol created in 1963 as part of the “Death and Disaster” series. At the time, Warhol became fascinated by the gruesome and horrific images – clouds of atomic bombs, electric chairs – and the prevalence of print publications, believing that readers had become immune to their influence. Of all his works, the series explicitly addressed its focus on human mortality.
A rare and large-scale Andy Warhol silk screen will go up for auction in November. attributed to him: Brownie Harris/Corbis Historical/Getty Images
In White Disaster, Warhol repeated a single image of a car crash 19 times in black and white. At 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide, it’s his biggest car crash business.
David Galperin, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s in New York, explained that “what sets (the painting) apart is not only its sheer size, which really baffles anyone standing in front of it…but also its palette of colours,” adding that Warhol repeated his image in the series in different colors. , including lavender and orange. “It looks really glowing, the way the black silk screen is taped against the sharp white background.”
“There is a power to feel stunted within this picture,” said David Galperin, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s New York. attributed to him: Courtesy of Sotheby’s
Galperin compared the size and shape of the piece to religious pieces, noting Warhol’s Catholic upbringing and religious undercurrents in his work—particularly how religious icon paintings taught his images of celebrities. Warhol worked on Death and Disaster at the same time he was printing his famous posthumous portraits of Monroe on screen.
“Ideas of celebrity, tragedy, fame and death – these are the themes that preoccupied Warhol and I think the series he was working on simultaneously, Marilyn’s paintings and ‘Death and Disaster paintings, are intricately connected,'” Galperin said.
Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) set a record when it broke $100 million in 2013. attributed to him: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
In 2013, a smaller work from the “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” series was sold at Sotheby’s for $ 105.4 million. It reigned as Warhol’s most expensive artwork until last year, when a 40-inch silkscreen by Monroe broke the record for any American artist, and was valued at $195 million.
Ahead of the sale, “White Disaster” will be shown at Sotheby’s New York from November 4-16. Kept in private collection for 25 years, it was formerly owned by Heiner Friedrich, founder of Dia Art Foundation, and art dealer Thomas Ammann, according to Sotheby’s. She has appeared in major exhibitions on Warhol and pop art more broadly at the Tate in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Pompidou Center in Paris, and most recently, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
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