Page last updated at 02:40 GMT, Saturday, 18 October 2008 03:40 UK

Warhol painting is sold for 4.3m

A man silhouetted in front of the Skulls painting
The Skulls painting is made up of 10 canvases

A painting by Andy Warhol has been sold for more than 4m, Sotheby's auction house said.

Skulls, 10 individual canvases which repeatedly represent the icon of the human skull, went under the hammer for 4,353,250, including buyer's premium.

Made in 1976, the 10 canvases consist of acrylic and silkscreen ink and each is signed and dated by the artist.

Each skull is identical, apart from their contrasting colours and represent "the literal multiplication of death".

The piece was compiled by Warhol's friend, the late Thomas Amman, a dealer in Impressionist and modern art and a major collector of contemporary art.

In 1962 Warhol began his famed series of portraits of Marilyn Monroe, and also experimented with images of Jackie Kennedy and Elvis Presley.

Cheyenne Westphal, chairman of contemporary art for Sotheby's Europe, said the sale was the second highest total for an October sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheby's.

"While our total fell short of its low estimate, the sale was assembled in a very different economic environment from that which prevailed," he said

"It is important to keep perspective - this market has witnessed rapid growth.

"What we have seen... is that buyers are continuing to respond to unprecedented saleroom opportunities and works of high quality, fresh to the market and properly estimated continue to perform well."

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