Sotheby’s will offer a painting from Andy Warhol’s delectable series of silver “Elvis” paintings at its New York contemporary art sale in May with an estimate of $30 million to $50 million. A representative from the auction house confirmed the news to Gallerist, which was first reported by Josh Baer in his Baer Faxt newsletter.
The specific lot up for offer is Double Elvis [Ferus Type] from 1963, which was first shown at Los Angeles’s Ferus gallery along with other Elvis paintings in the fall of that year in what Sotheby’s terms, in a news release, “continuous surround, encircling the gallery like flickering pictures reminiscent of early film.” According to a rep at Sotheby’s, the work will go on view in L.A. next Wednesday, and then embark on a tour that will take it to Hong Kong, London and New York.
In Nov. 2007, at the height of the last art market boom, Christie’s New York sold a similar work, called Elvis 2 Times, for $15.7 million with premium, the top public price for a work from that series, according to the Artnet database. While that is far below the auction record for a Warhol–that would be the $71.7 million paid for Green Car Crash (1963) in May 2007, according to Artnet–an “Elvis” may hold the all-time record price for a work by the artist. Over on his Art Market Monitor blog, Marion Maneker has noted that a painting from the series, called Eight Elvises (1963), is believed to have sold in a private deal brokered by art advisor Philippe Ségalot for $100 million.
According to Sotheby’s, nine of the 22 works in the “Elvis” series are in museum collections. The Museum of Modern Art, for instance, has a Double Elvis that was donated by the Jerry and Emily Spiegel Family Foundation in 2001 in honor of the late MoMA curator Kirk Varnedoe. It is now on view in its galleries.
Mr. Baer mentions that Bob Dylan was once famously photographed with a Warhol “Elvis.” The singer is also known for owning one, and then making this poor decision, which he told Spin magazine about in 1985:
I once traded an Andy Warhol “Elvis Presley” painting for a sofa, which was a stupid thing to do. I always wanted to tell Andy what a stupid thing I done, and if he had another painting he would give me, I’d never do it again.