Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Art owned by Michael Crichton goes on sale

Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton passed away in 2008

Artworks belonging to the late Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton are to be sold off, Christie's has announced.

Items by Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein, thought to be worth £20m will go under the hammer at the auction house in May.

The star lot, Jasper Johns' Flag, is on public view in London for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Christie's Brett Gorvey said the collection gives an "incredible insight" into Crichton's mind.

'Personal journey'

"We are thrilled to be exhibiting an extremely rare example of Jasper Johns' Flag, one of the most famous icons of American art," Gorvey said.

"Johns' Flags had an enormous impact on artists worldwide. It is an image which literally changed the course of art history."

The American flag re-creation (1960-66) has never been on the public market before, as Crichton acquired the piece 30 years ago directly from his own collection.

Crichton once described how "the act of painting a flag at this time seemed to many observers an absurdity: an American flag might be many things, but it was certainly not art.

"Yet Johns presented a carefully worked, elegantly executed painting."

It was last seen in public 18 years ago as part of a Pop Art exhibition organised by the Royal Academy in London.

Jasper Johns' Flag
Flag is one of Johns' best known works

"This exhibit in London is an incredible insight into the mind and personal journey that Michael Crichton made as a collector," said Gorvey.

Crichton, who also created the hit US show ER, died in 2008 aged 66 after battling cancer.

His novels, including The Andromeda Strain, Timeline, The Lost World and State of Fear, have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.

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Times OnlineInteriors: the colour of money - 6 hrs ago
CHINAdaily Christie's to auction Crichton's art collection in May - 34 hrs ago
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