Warhol's Elizabeth Taylor portrait to be auctioned

Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:35pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A portrait of Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor by Andy Warhol will go under the hammer in New York on May 12 and is expected to fetch as much as $30 million, auctioneers Phillips de Pury said on Thursday.

"Liz #5" was painted in 1963 and is "a dazzling tribute to Elizabeth Taylor," the auction house said in a statement.

Taylor died on Wednesday aged 79.

"Liz #5 is a pristine gem," said Michael McGinnis, head of contemporary art at Phillips de Pury.

"It is Warhol at his very best with a perfect screen, glowing colors, and impeccable provenance. She is classic yet every bit as cutting edge as she was when Warhol painted her nearly 50 years ago."

According to the company, the portrait "embodies the most important themes of Warhol's oeuvre including celebrity, wealth, scandal, sex, death and Hollywood.

"The epitome of old-world Hollywood style and glamour, Liz Taylor was one of Warhol's most famous inspirations alongside Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy."

The painting is estimated to be worth $20-30 million.

British actor Hugh Grant sold a Warhol portrait of Taylor in New York in 2007 for $23.6 million, several times what he paid for the work.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)

<p>Workers adjust Andy Warhol's "Elizabeth Taylor" hanging beside Edvard Munch's "Madonna" at Bonhams auction house in London July 9, 2010. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth</p>