Phillips de Pury & Company just dropped us a note (official release below), that Andy Warhol’s iconic portrait of the late Elizabeth Taylor will be up for auction of May 12th. Warhol painted “Liz #5” in 1963 as a “dazzling tribute to Elizabeth Taylor.” The portrait of the Hollywood actress is expected to sell between $20 to $30 million. Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is selling the piece, which he acquired at an undisclosed sum from the estate of major New York art dealer Illeana Sonnabend, who died in 2007. Cohen has spent about $300 million to amass an impressive art collection that includes works by Edouard Manet, Claude Monet and Jackson Pollock.
VIEWING: 28 APRIL – 11 MAY, 2011
AUCTION: 12 MAY, 7PM
LOCATION: Phillips de Pury & Company, 450 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Phillips de Pury & Company is honoured to announce the sale of a rare, iconic portrait of the legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, painted by Andy Warhol in 1963. The stunning painting will be offered for sale in the Contemporary Art Part I auction on May 12th and is estimated at $20,000,000 / $30,000,000.
“Liz #5 is a pristine gem. It is Warhol at his very best with a perfect screen, glowing colors, and impeccable provenance. She is classic yet every bit as cutting edge as she was when Warhol painted her nearly 50 years ago. Liz #5 embodies everything that a major collector of 20th and 21st century art desires and we are thrilled to offer this rare and exciting opportunity to the market.” Michael McGinnis, Senior Director and Worldwide Head, Contemporary Art.
Liz #5 was painted at the height of the actresses’ fame which coincided with the most significant and creative period of Warhol’s career. The glamorous portrait embodies the most important themes of Warhol’s oeuvre including celebrity, wealth, scandal, sex, death and Hollywood. The epitome of old-world Hollywood style and glamour, Liz Taylor was one of Warhol’s most famous inspirations alongside Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy. Taylor captured Warhol’s attention early on with her life’s high profile romances and tragedy; it was this vibrancy and pathos that so attracted Warhol to her and ensured she was a formidable influence on his work throughout his career. In his own words he once said, “Elizabeth Taylor, ohhhh. She’s so glamorous.”
In Liz #5, her unforgettable face emerges from a rich turquoise background, perfectly capturing her luminous skin, striking violet eyes and red lips. The power of her attraction has never been as evident as it is in this Warhol painting – a dazzling tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. This striking portrait is a testament to the legend and beauty of one of the world’s most beloved and iconic actresses, both capturing her very essence and transcending the limits of time.
Liz #5 comes from an important private collector who acquired it from the estate of famed art dealer and collector Ileana Sonnabend. Beginning in the early 1960s her gallery was instrumental in introducing postwar American Art to Europe and she represented the most prolific and groundbreaking artists of her time including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. Liz #5 remained in her personal art collection until her death in 2007. This is the first time a work from her estate will come to auction and it offers the rare possibility to acquire one of the Sonnabend treasures in the open market.
Sigh, they just don’t make icons like this anymore…
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.