NY sales Day #3: Sotheby’s will close this amazing week for the contemporary art market

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On 13 November 2013 Sotheby’s will present Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) by Andy Warhol as the outstanding highlight of the New York auction season. At over 8 ft. by 13 ft., the monumental painting is one of only four Car Crash works of this scale in the pivotal Death and Disaster series and the only one remaining in private hands. The work, which boasts distinguished provenance including Gunter Sachs, Charles Saatchi, and the legendary Swiss dealer Thomas Ammann, has been in the same collection since 1988 and has been seen in public only once in the past 26 years. Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) is estimated to achieve in excess of $60 million. The series explored many of the key themes that defined his entire artistic career – the potential of mass-media to transform anonymity to celebrity as well as a perceived indifference to death in the modern era – and is considered one of the most provocative, confrontational and brilliant projects undertaken by any artist in the 1960s. It is not coincidental that Warhol created the series at the same time as his iconic portraits of celebrities touched by death and disaster such as Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy who had found their private tragedy catapulted onto the public arena. In Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) Warhol selects a subject matter considered particularly radical at the time, capturing the immediate aftermath of a car crashing into a tree, with the silkscreen impression bleakly dramatizing the deformed metal and twisted human body while the reflective silver paint creates a play of light and shadow.

In addition, Sotheby’s  will present Untitled V by Willem de Kooning as a major highlight of the Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The work dates from the critical year of 1975 and is the prime example from the watershed period when de Kooning returned to painting after a period in which he focused on sculpture. Having not been seen in public since 1980, Untitled V is estimated to fetch $25/35 million.

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