Another Freak-Show Big-Money Art Auction: Warhol’s “Double Elvis” Brings $37 Million

Another Freak-Show Big-Money Art Auction: Warhol’s “Double Elvis” Brings

An iconic portrait of Elvis Presley by pop artist Andy Warhol went for $37 Million when it hit the auction block tonight at Sotheby’s. The life-size 1963 silkscreen ink and spray paint piece, Double Elvis (Ferus Type), epitomizes Warhol’s obsessions with fame, stardom and the public image, according to Sotheby’s. Previously estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million, it was included in the auction house’s May 9th sale of post-war and contemporary art. Art auctions have turned into freak-show casinos, spectacles where the uber-rich can act out as much in public as possible, trying to buy immortality, become a part of art history, make headlines and create big profits. They are despicable for what they do to art, for the bad magic of making mysteriously powerful things turn into numbers.

The silver background of Double Elvis (Ferus Type), along with the subtle variations in tone is said to give the serial imagery a sense of rhythmic variation that recalls the artist’s masterpiece, 200 One Dollar Bills, completed the previous year. That work soared to nearly $44 million or four times its estimate in 2009 and achieved the highest price of any work at the fall auctions. But it was a work from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series that set the artist’s record, which still stands. Green Car Crash (Green Car Burning), also from 1963, more than doubled its estimate and sold for $71.7 million in 2007, at the height of the art market boom.

In the Double Elvis work, Presley is dressed as a cowboy, shooting a gun. Sotheby’s describes him in the work as “a Hollywood icon of the sixties rather than the rebellious singer who shook the world of music in the sixties.” The double in the title refers to a shadowy image of Presley in the same pose that appears next to him in the work.

Bob Dylan Holding “Double Elvis” at The Factory, NYC, 1965

On an eagerly-awaited visit to The Factory in 1965 for one of Warhol’s “Screen Test” sessions, Bob Dylan and his crew, along with their host Andy Warhol, were photographed on the set. At the session, Andy gave Dylan a great double image of Elvis. Dylan departed, having tied the Elvis image to the top of his station wagon, like a deer poached out of season. Much later, Dylan said that he’d traded the “Double Elvis” (now worth millions) to his manager for a couch!

Bob Dylan’s Screen Test, The Factory, NYC, 1965

Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” at May 9th Sotheby’s Auction

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a leading figure in the visual pop art movement. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. He worked in a range of media, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, film and music. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio in New York City, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons.

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

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Never Before Seen Photographs of the Young Andy Warhol

Warhol Behind His Marilyn Print

Warhol Editing Film at The Factory in NYC

Warhol Filming at The Factory with His Assistant, Gerard Malanga

Warhol With All-American Faces

Never Before Seen Photographs of the Young Andy Warhol

Before They Were Famous: Behind The Lens of William John Kennedy is an extraordinary collection of images by the photographer William John Kennedy, which is currently on exhibition at the new gallery Site/109 in New York City. The collection presents a number of never-before-seen photographs of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, among them Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe and Indiana’s LOVE, taken by Mr. Kennedy in the mid-60’s when they were both just emerging American artists.

The fact that these early images of the two iconic American artists happened isn’t necessarily the exciting part. It’s that the amazingly early, naïve portraits of the artists with their own works were created before they were famous. These early images sat untouched for over 50 years, until Kennedy uncovered them within his archives and decided it was time to finally print this project.

Full Circle: Before They Were Famous

William John Kennedy’s Photographs of Andy Warhol

Photo-Gallery: Before He Was Famous: Andy Warhol

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Andy Warhol’s Cowboy “Double Elvis” Could Bring $50 Million at Auction

Andy Warhol’s Cowboy “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” Could Bring $50 Million at Auction

An iconic portrait of Elvis Presley by pop artist Andy Warhol is poised to go for as much as $50 million when it hits the auction block in May at Sotheby’s. The life-size 1963 painting, Double Elvis (Ferus Type), epitomizes Warhol’s obsessions with fame, stardom and the public image, according to Sotheby’s. Estimated to sell for $30 million to $50 million, it will be included in the auction house’s May 9th sale of post-war and contemporary art.

The silver background of Double Elvis (Ferus Type), along with the subtle variations in tone give the serial imagery a sense of rhythmic variation that recalls the artist’s masterpiece, 200 One Dollar Bills, completed the previous year. That work soared to nearly $44 million or four times its estimate in 2009 and achieved the highest price of any work at the fall auctions. But it was a work from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series that set the artist’s record, which still stands. Green Car Crash (Green Car Burning), also from 1963, more than doubled its estimate and sold for $71.7 million in 2007, at the height of the art market boom.

In the Double Elvis work, Presley is dressed as a cowboy, shooting a gun. Sotheby’s describes him in the work as “a Hollywood icon of the sixties rather than the rebellious singer who shook the world of music in the sixties.” The double in the title refers to a shadowy image of Presley in the same pose that appears next to him in the work.

Bob Dylan Holding “Double Elvis” at The Factory, NYC, 1965

On an eagerly-awaited visit to The Factory in 1965 for one of Warhol’s “Screen Test” sessions, Bob Dylan and his crew, along with their host Andy Warhol, were photographed on the set. At the session, Andy gave Dylan a great double image of Elvis. Dylan departed, having tied the Elvis image to the top of his station wagon, like a deer poached out of season. Much later, Dylan said that he’d traded the “Double Elvis” (now worth millions) to his manager for a couch!

Bob Dylan’s Screen Test, The Factory, NYC, 1965

Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” at May 9th Sotheby’s Auction

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was a leading figure in the visual pop art movement. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement. He worked in a range of media, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, film and music. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio in New York City, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons.

Andy Warhol’s Pop Art: A Documentary (2000)

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Sexy Screen Tests: A Big Cock and Hot Chicks

Sexy Screen Tests: A Big Cock and Hot Chicks

In film director Aaron Rose’s Warhol-inspired and farmyard-centric Chicken Screen Tests, a collection of exquisite California chicks and a charismatic duck mug for the camera, all the while posing for their portraits to the music of Dean and Britta’s cover of Bob Dylan’s I’ll Keep It With Mine. Rose’s bewildering chicken screen tests were shot with 16mm film in line with the standard formula of Andy Warhol’s 1960s Factory Screen Tests, with the finely feathered thespians obtained from a farm in San Pedro.

Aaron Rose: Chicken Screen Tests

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Happy Easter: Andy Warhol’s Fancy-Feathered Easter Bonnet

Happy Easter: Andy Warhol’s Fancy-Feathered Easter Bonnet

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

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Andy Warhol’s “Purple Fright Wig” Self-Portrait Sells for $32,562,500!!

Andy Warhol’s “Purple Fright Wig” Self-Portrait Sells for $32,562,500!!

On May 12th, a rare nine-foot-square self-portrait by Andy Warhol, his Purple-Hued Fright Wig painting, was offered for auction at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City.  Warhol’s painting had an estimated value of $10,000,000—15,000,000, but after heated bidding the painting sold for $32,562,500.  The self-portrait had been put up for auction by the fashion designer Tom Ford, who acquired the acrylic and silkscreen ink work in 1998 from the estate of the artist.  Warhol’s iconic and rare self-portrait was executed in 1986, just prior to his unexpected death the following year.

From the young artist in the photo-booth and The Factory of the 1960s, to the art-world elder statesman contemplating his own mortality, Warhol’s self-portraits stand out as an unparalleled body of work.  Andy Warhol’s lifelong obsession with self-portraiture and mortality was enhanced by three dangerous encounters during the 1960s.  The most dangerous experience occurred on June 3, 1968 when the deranged Valerie Solanas entered The Factory and shot Warhol, who was gravely injured and lucky to have survived. The close encounter with death subsequently inspired the artist to produce numerous self-portraits, culminating in his fright-wig paintings.

Ford’s decision to sell his Warhol self-portrait came after auction houses had achieved astounding results with the artist’s works.  Warhol’s 1963 Green Car Crash went for $71.7 Million at Christie’s in 2007, and his 1962 silk-screen painting 200 One Dollar Bills sold for $43.8 Million at Sotheby’s in 2009.

Warhol’s Self-Portrait: The Purple-Hued Fright Wig Painting

Slide Show: Andy Warhol’s Self-Portraiture from the 1960s through the 1980s

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Warhol’s Self-Portrait: The Monumental Purple-Hued Fright Wig Painting

Warhol’s Self-Portrait: The Purple-Hued Fright Wig Painting

On May 12th, a rare nine-foot-square self-portrait by Andy Warhol, his Purple-Hued Fright Wig painting, will be offered for auction at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York City.  The self-portrait is currently owned by the fashion designer Tom Ford, who acquired the acrylic and silkscreen ink work in 1998 from the estate of the artist.  Warhol’s iconic and rare self-portrait was executed in 1986, just prior to his unexpected death the following year.

From the young artist in the photo-booth and The Factory of the 1960s, to the art-world elder statesman contemplating his own mortality, Warhol’s self-portraits stand out as an unparalleled body of work.  Andy Warhol’s lifelong obsession with self-portraiture and mortality was enhanced by three dangerous encounters during the 1960s.  The most dangerous experience occurred on June 3, 1968 when the deranged Valerie Solanas entered The Factory and shot Warhol, who was gravely injured and lucky to have survived.  The close encounter with death subsequently inspired the artist to produce numerous self-portraits, culminating in his fright-wig paintings.

Ford’s decision to sell his Warhol self-portrait comes after auction houses have achieved astounding results with the artist’s works.  Warhol’s 1963 Green Car Crash went for $71.7 Million at Christie’s in 2007, and his 1962 silk-screen painting 200 One Dollar Bills sold for $43.8 million at Sotheby’s in 2009.

Warhol’s Self-Portrait: The Purple-Hued Fright Wig Painting

Slide Show: Andy Warhol’s Self-Portraiture from the 1960s through the 1980s

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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