Entertainment & Arts

Warhol silkscreen of Elvis sells for $81.9 million; Brando fetches less

Warhols at auction
A Christie’s employee speaks about Andy Warhol’s “Triple Elvis” and “Four Marlons” during a media preview Oct. 31 in New York.
(Don emmert / AFP / Getty Images)

“Triple Elvis,” a 1963 Andy Warhol silkscreen depicting the king of rock ‘n’ roll in triplicate, sold for $81.9 million at an auction of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s in New York on Wednesday. The sale, which featured 82 individual pieces, brought in a total of $852.9 million.

Another Warhol piece also stoked buyer interest. “Four Marlons,” which shows actor Marlon Brando from the movie “The Wild One,” sold for $69.6 million, the second highest amount of the evening. A Cy Twombly canvas “Untitled” from 1970 sold for nearly the same amount.

WestSpiel, a  German casino company, was the seller of the two Warhol paintings, which had hung in a casino in Aachen since the ‘70s, according to reports.

The Christie’s sale boasted a blue-chip lineup of works by Francis Bacon, Ed Ruscha, Gerhard Richter and Jeff Koons. The Koons sculpture “Balloon Monkey,” which is one of five that the American artist created in the series, fetched $25.9 million, in the middle of the auction house’s estimate of $20 million to $30 million. 

Art dealer Larry Gagosian snapped up two prominent works, according to the New York Times. Gagosian provided the winning bids for an Ed Ruscha work “Smash,” which exceeded estimates to fetch $30.4 million, and a Martin Kippenberger self-portrait for $22.6 million.

The other big sellers on Wednesday included a Bacon canvas from 1960 that fetched $45 million, which was at the low end of estimates, and a Richter painting that sold for $31.5 million, slightly beating estimates.

The auction record for a Warhol painting still belongs to “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster),” which was created by the artist in 1963 and sold last year for $105.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT