Andy Warhol’s Michael Jackson portrait flies first class


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The gavel has fallen and the auction is over. Andy Warhol’s portrait of Michael Jackson sold Tuesday at the Vered Gallery in New York’s East Hampton for more than $1 million to an undisclosed buyer.

Janet Lehr, a partner at the gallery, told Culture Monster today that the auction received a ‘few dozen’ bids on the painting, which was commissioned by Time magazine and completed by Warhol in 1984.


The painting made a two-day publicity stop in West Hollywood last week at Gallery 825. Lehr said she personally took the painting with her on the airplane and that she didn’t let it out of her sight from her seat in the first-class cabin.

‘I prefer to keep things with me when we’re traveling, especially if it is small enough to carry,’ she said.

The Jackson portrait, which is about 30 inches by 26 inches, was transported in a custom-made metal box. The painting didn’t have to go through the X-ray machine at the airport; instead, a security guard used a wand to clear the parcel.

Vered Gallery refused to disclose the identities of the buyer and seller; it also declined to specify the exact selling price. (The painting was last sold on May 13 for $278,500 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York, according to reports.)

Gallery officials told Culture Monster that they approached the owner about selling the painting. ‘The seller is a client of ours and I knew he owned it,’ Lehr said.

The painting is expected to change hands within the next few days, according to the gallery.


-- David Ng