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Hugh Grantís "Liz" fetches $23.7 million in auction!
Posted by TK on 12/19/2007 5:27:01 PM (ET)
Filed Under: General
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British actor Hugh Grant’s Andy Warhol portrait of Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor from 1963 fetched $23.7 million in auction at Christie’s New York.

The portrait, titled “Liz (Colored Liz),” was bought by an anonymous phone bidder for slightly below its estimate of $25 million to $35 million. Even so, it still set a new record for the Liz series (the previous auction record for any of Warhol’s Liz series was set in 2005, when jeweler Laurence Graff paid $12.6 million at Sotheby’s for a portrait with a deep-red background).

Grant’s “Liz” has a turquoise background with her eyes captured in her trademark violet. It is a unique painting from a group of 13 colourful portraits produced by the pop artist in tribute to Taylor at the height of her silver-screen fame. It is particularly noteworthy because at the time Warhol painted it, Taylor suffered from a grave illness that forced her to disrupt the filming of Cleopatra. As with the other icons Warhol frequently painted, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, he captured the fragility behind the glamour. Warhol painted Marilyn Monroe after her death and Jackie Kennedy after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, adding poignance to the works. Warhol’s message – death and disaster hide behind every display of glitz and glamour.

The Times Online reports that Hugh Grant had bought “Liz (Colored Liz)” at auction at Sotheby’s six years ago for just $3.6 million. Warhol’s works have recently experienced an enormous boom, with his work “Green Car Crash” selling for $71.7 million, obliterating the previous record for his work of $17.4 million.

Christie’s reportedly offered Grant a guarantee in the range of $20 million if the painting failed to sell. He will reportedly use the sum he has received for “Liz” to invest in works by younger artists.

Liz is a classic example of Andy Warhol's style of work.
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