An iconic painting by Andy Warhol titled "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)" was sold on Wednesday for a record-breaking figure of $105 million. The painting depicts the immediate aftermath of a car accident and was sold at Sotheby's in New York City.
It is clear that some people in the world still have obscene amounts of money, especially when it comes to shopping for art.
The sale of the prized 1963 Warhol painting, which shatters the artists' current record sale price, comes in the wake of the top record-breaking sale of Francis Bacon's painting “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” which sold for a record $142,405,000 at Christie's in New York the day before. That particular sale shattered the previous world record paid for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” at a 2012 Sotheby’s sale by $20 million.
Warhol's previous record on auction was in 2007, when “Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I),” a different colorization of the same work, sold for $71.7 million. It seems Warhol silk-screened his "Crash" idea in several different "colorways" but according to the Daily Beast, the silver version the most popular of all, due to a symbolism with money and capitalism.
“Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” is an 8-by-13 foot painting, displaying a twisted body, sprawled across a car's crushed interior, in the immediate aftermath of a car crash. Sotheby's, who conducted the auction, reports that the painting has only been seen once in public over the last 26 years. The buyer was not immediately identified.
In November 1963, Arts magazine ARTNews published an interview with Warhol about the series of crash paintings. Warhol said, "I guess it was the big plane crash picture, the front page of a newspaper: 129 DIE. I was also painting the Marilyns. I realized that everything I was doing must have been Death."
It is definitely a Warhol week as his painting “Coca-Cola (3),” also sold on Tuesday for $57.2 million. On Wednesday, yet another Warhol painting, a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, titled “Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz)” sold at Christie's auction house on Tuesday for $20 million.
Art auctions around the world are going crazy in the last 10 days and auction houses worldwide have handled sales totaling almost $2 billion for both art and jewelry, according to Sotheby's.
Christie's said that Tuesday's sale chalked up more than $691.5 million, which is apparently the highest total for any single auction in history.
According to Michael Frahm, partner in the London-based Frahm Ltd., “The demand for seminal works by historical important artists is truly unquestionable, and we will keep witnessing new records being broken.”
“This is the ultimate trophy hunting,” he added.
So with another $105 million coming in for "Crash", it makes you wish that amount of money had been available to Andy Warhol himself, when he was alive and still painting. Such is the life of an artist, only after death does your work bring in obscene riches.