Christie’s November sale is distinguished by exceptional works from both Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, which display both artists’ breadth of vision.
Highlighting this season’s Warhol selection is a powerful, brooding portrait of Marlon Brando, one of the first paintings in the artist’s ground-breaking Death and Disaster series, as well as an evocative depiction of the Statue of Liberty, which emerged from Warhol’s most influential period, and subsequently is one of his most important works ever to come to auction.
An unforgettable image of leather-clad Marlon Brando, Marlon, 1966, depicts his character, Johnny Strabler, resting on his Triumph Thunderbird motorbike--a publicity still taken from the 1953 movie, The Wild One. Painted three years earlier, during a time of crisis in America, Warhol’s Statue of Liberty is at once deeply personal, universal, and marks Warhol among the most astute cultural commentators.
The Warhol selection is punctuated by two of the artist’s later works from the 1980s, Knives, 1982, and Rorschach, 1984—a rare foray by the artist in to the realm of abstraction.
Sizzling with veiled sexuality, Nude with Red Shirt marks Roy Lichtenstein’s triumphal return to the comic-book sources from the 1960s, which defined him as one of the major painters of the twentieth century. His return to the curvaceous contours of the female form in the 1990s simultaneously possessed the same emotional intensity of his earlier works, while introducing a more contemporary female protagonist.
Representing a unique blend of figurative and abstract elements, Keds, 1962, marks the arrival of Lichtenstein’s mature style, which included a highly sophisticated series of works in which he selected a diverse range of source material, introducing a richer variety of techniques to his more and more detailed compositions.