NEW YORK CITY — Two masterpieces by U.S. artist Andy Warhol go under the hammer in New York next month, with the highlights of the auction season expected to fetch up to US$120 million. “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” seen in public only once in the last 26 years, will be sold by Sotheby’s on November 13 for an expected US$60 million. “Coca-Cola (3),” one of Warhol’s most famous pop art paintings that has been widely exhibited, is expected to sell for US$40-60 million at Christie’s on November 12. Warhol, a hugely influential figure considered the founder of pop art, was the artist who sold the most at auction last year, his work fetching US$329 million.
“Silver Car Crash,” which has been in the same private collection since 1988, goes on display at Sotheby’s in London on October 12 and in New York on November 1. Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, described the 1963 painting as “one of the definitive masterpieces of history painting.” Warhol produced four paintings in the “Death and Disaster” series, the other three of which are in museums in New York, Switzerland and Vienna. Sotheby’s says the series is arguably Warhol’s most significant artistic achievement. “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster),” which measures 2.4 meters by four meters (8 feet by 13 feet), depicts the immediate aftermath of a car crashing into a tree. Painted in 1962, Warhol’s bottle of Coca-Cola is a black and white, human-sized portrait. It has been with the same private collector for almost two decades, but has featured prominently in every major Warhol exhibition. It goes on display in London from October 12-18, before being sold at Christie’s in New York on November 12. Warhol was fascinated by consumer and celebrity culture. “What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest,” he said. “All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the president knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”