Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Warhol artwork sells for $43.8m

200 One Dollar Bills
200 One Dollar Bills had a pre-sale estimate of $8m to $12m (4.8m to 7.3m)

Andy Warhol artwork 200 One Dollar Bills has sold in New York for $43.8m (£26.5m) - the second highest auction price for a work by the pop artist.

The 1962 silk screen print, which shows 200 life-sized images of dollar bills, had a pre-sale estimate of $8m to $12m (£4.8m to £7.3m) at Sotheby's.

The contemporary sale fetched $134.4m (£81.3m) with 52 out of 54 lots sold.

Warhol's 1963 painting Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) sold for a record $71.7m (£43.4m) in 2007.

New record

In Wednesday's sale, a Warhol self-portrait given by the artist to teenage secretary Cathy Naso at his New York studio The Factory in the 1960s fetched $6.1m (£3.7m).

Ms Naso, who kept the work hidden in a cupboard for more than 40 years, said she was overwhelmed by the price.

Bidding was very deep tonight. There is a great desire for great art - consumer behaviour has started to accelerate
Sotheby's head of contemporary art Tobias Meyer

Gray Numbers, by Jasper Johns, fetched $8.7m (£5.3m) while a new record was set for a Jean Dubuffet piece - his Trinite-Champs-Elysees sold for $6.1m (£3.7m).

Wednesday's auction exceeded the estimate by more than 50%.

Sotheby's head of contemporary art Tobias Meyer said that "after a year of not buying, collectors have started buying".

"Bidding was very deep tonight. There is a great desire for great art - consumer behaviour has started to accelerate."

But despite a recovery, the market remains unstable.

On Tuesday, Warhol's Tunafish Disaster, which was expected to make up to $8m (£4.7m), and Jean-Michel Basquiat's Brother's Sausage, which was expected to fetch $12m (£7m), failed to sell at Christie's in New York.

But the sale took a total of $74.1m (£44.2m), which auctioneers said was "reminiscent of 18 months ago" before the art market was hit by the downturn.

Pieces by Johns and Jeff Koons sold strongly in a competitive auction.



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