Andy Warhol first self portrait soars to $38 million auction
By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andy Warhol's very first self portrait injected the energy that been missing back into spring art sales Wednesday when it soared to $38.44 million at Christie's post-war and contemporary art auction.
The sale totaled $301.68 million, beating the high pre-sale estimate, and set records for several artists. Only three of the 65 works on offer failed to sell, for an extraordinarily high sell-through rate of 95 percent.
The total was Christie's highest since May 2008, just before the financial crisis sent prices into a steep decline.
The auction was dominated by eight Warhols, which took in a total of $91 million.
But the star was "Self-Portrait," a four-panel acrylic silk-screen from 1963-64 in hues of blue depicting the pop artist wearing a trench coat and sunglasses.
It was sold by the family of Detroit collector Florence Barron, who commissioned the work for $1,600 nearly half a century ago, making payments on an installment plan.
Two determined bidders competed in a protracted, 16-minute bidding war, with a private European collector prevailing.
"I really believe my mother-in-law would have been ecstatic," Nora Barron said after the sale. Continued...