Andy Warhol painting sold for $105.4 million

Posted at 6:02 PM, Nov 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-14 18:08:59-05

New York (CNN) — A famously macabre painting by Andy Warhol sold for $105.4 million Wednesday, a record for the famed pop artist and the second-most expensive piece of art ever auctioned, according to Sotheby’s auction house.

“Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” shows a twisted body in the wreckage of a car crash, part of Warhol’s vaunted “Death and Disaster” series, painted in 1963.

Arts magazine ARTNews published an interview with Warhol in November 1963, in which the artist said of the series, “I guess it was the big plane crash picture, the front page of a newspaper: 129 DIE. I was also painting the Marilyns. I realized that everything I was doing must have been Death.”

The large painting, which measures 8 feet by 13 feet, is one of only four works of that size in the series and the only one remaining in a private collection, according to Sotheby’s.

It had been in a private collection since 1989 and has rarely been viewed in public.   Sotheby’s declined to identify the buyer.

“‘Silver Car Crash’ is the most important work of contemporary art we have ever had the privilege to offer, and its exceptional result is a testament to that fact,” said Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s and the evening’s auctioneer.

Another well-known painting from the 1960s also sold for over $100 million this week.   On Tuesday, Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold for $142.4 million after six minutes of bidding in the room and on the phone at Christie’s in New York, the most expensive piece of art ever auctioned, according to auction house spokeswoman Elizabeth Van Bergen.

Another iconic Warhol image, “Coca-Cola (3),” sold for $57.2 million Tuesday at Christie’s.   “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” was one of several Warhol pieces in the Sotheby’s auction Wednesday. “Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz)” drew $20.3 million and “Flowers (Five Foot Flowers)” sold for $11.3 million, according to the auction house.