Andy Warhol 'Car Crash' sells for record US$105m at auction

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 8:16pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 3:41am


A prized 1963 Andy Warhol painting that captures the immediate aftermath of a car crash sold for US$105 million at a New York City auction, shattering the record for the famed pop artist amid a spending frenzy at the high end of the art world.

The 2.5-metre by 4-metre painting titled Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) depicts a twisted body sprawled across a car's mangled interior. It has only been seen once in public in the 26 years before Wednesday's sale. The buyer was not immediately identified.

The previous Warhol auction record was set in 2007 when Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) sold for US$71.7 million.

Another iconic Warhol, Coca-Cola (3), sold for US$57.2 million on Tuesday at Christie's auction house, and his portrait of Elizabeth Taylor titled Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz) sold for US$20 million on Wednesday.

A Willem de Kooning abstract painting in red, yellow and white called Untitled V, not seen in public since 1980, sold for US$24.8 million on Wednesday.

None of Wednesday's buyers were identified.

The Warhol record came just a day after the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction - Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud - went for US$142.4 million to conclude six minutes of feverish bidding at Christie's.

Over the past 10 days, auction houses around the world presided over bids totalling nearly US$2 billion for art and jewellery, Sotheby's said. Christie's said Tuesday's sale brought in more than US$691.5 million, the highest total for any single auction in history.

"The demand for seminal works by historical important artists is truly unquestionable, and we will keep witnessing new records being broken," said Michael Frahm, a contemporary art adviser and partner at London-based Frahm.

"This is the ultimate trophy hunting."