Pop! ‘Ohhh…Alright…’ Sets New World Auction Record For Lichtenstein at $42.6 Million

Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art masterpiece “Ohhh...Alright…” sold for $42.6 million in Christie’s Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on Nov.10, 2010, setting a new world record auction price for the artist.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Pop Art masterpiece “Ohhh…Alright…” depicting a blue-eyed, flame haired beauty in Ben-Day dots sold for $42.6 million in Christie’s Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on Nov.10, 2010, setting a new world record auction price for the artist.

Overall, the Post-War and Contemporary Art realized $272,873,000.

“Led by an exceptional group of museum-quality works from Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Gerhard Richter,” said Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie’s Americas, “this was an evening rich with masterpiece-quality works offered fresh to the market from this season’s most important private, corporate and estate collections. Eight lots sold for more than $5 million, and the sale total nearly quadrupled the amount for the same time last year. We continue to see ever-increasing demand from both new and established collectors with deep stores of wealth, who remain actively engaged in the auction market.”

Lichtenstein (1923-1997) painted “Ohhh…Alright…” in 1964 using his signature Ben-Day dots, illustrating the brash comic styling of the artist’s most celebrated period of artistic production. The work sold to an anonymous bidder on the phone. The previous record for a work by Lichtenstein was $16,256,000, achieved for “In the Car” (1963), at Christie’s New York in November 2005. As with all of Lichtenstein’s iconic images, “Ohhh…Alright…” is at once striking and subtly and humorous. The redhead forms part of the iconic cast of dream-girls painted between 1961-1965 that saw Lichtenstein attain international prominence as one of America’s most exciting and controversial artists.

In a sales week that may be remembered as “the season of Warhols,” 15 of his works were offered and all sold, achieving a combined total of $70,381,500. The top price among the selection was for Andy Warhol’s hand-painted masterpiece, “Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)” (1962), which sold to an anonymous bidder for $23,882,500, less than the estimated $30-$50 million. At six feet high, the painting is one of the largest examples of Warhol’s most famous and beloved images of a Campbell’s Soup Can. It was offered from the renowned collection of the Seattle collector Barney A. Ebsworth, who has owned it since 1987.

Andy Warhol’s hand-painted masterpiece, “Big Campbell's Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)” (1962), which sold to an anonymous bidder for $23,882,500, less than the estimated $30-$50 million.

In total, 45 works of art sold for over $1 million, eight works for over $5 million, and four works for over $10 million in the sale. In addition to Lichtenstein’s “Ohhh…Alright” and Warhol’s “Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable),” top prices were achieved for the following artists and works:

“Balloon Flower (Blue)” by Jeff Koons

“Balloon Flower (Blue)” by Jeff Koons (b. 1955), from the Daimler Art Collection is considered one of the artist’s most important outdoor sculptures and belongs to his acclaimed and beloved “Celebration” series. This work, which has attracted sightseers and art lovers alike to the plaza in front of Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries, fetched $16,882,500. “Balloon Flower (Blue)” is the first in a series of only five Balloon Flowers in existence, each a different color.

“Zwei Kerzen” by Gerhard Richter

“Zwei Kerzen” by Gerhard Richter (b. 1932), from one of the most highly regarded series of paintings of “Candles and Skulls” that Richter created in 1982 and 1983. This intimate and contemplative painting, executed with stunning photographic realism, fetched $12,962,500
“No. 18 (Brown and Black on Plum) by Mark Rothko (1903-1970), painted in a darktoned and somber color palette, comes from the collection of the late Dr. Franz Meyer, the well-known art historian and museum director. Previously included in major exhibitions and retrospective’s of Rothko’s work, the painting sold for $9,602,500.

Major private and estate collections proved to be the source of some of the most significant works offered this season, including one of the largest assemblages of Warhol works ever offered at auction. From the Collection of Robert Shapazian, the late former managing director of the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, Christie’s offered a wide range of Warhols encompassing each of the artist’s favorite subjects, from Marilyn Monroe to Brillo Boxes. The top price for these pieces was $9,042,500 for Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Can (Tomato)” (1962), which soared beyond its pre-sale estimate of $6-$8 million. The total Evening Sale portion of the Shapazian collection achieved $33,970,000.

From The Collection of Max Palevsky, the late computing pioneer and co-founder of Scientific Data Systems and Intel Corp., the sale featured blue-chip works by Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Donald Judd, Joseph Stella and Richard Lindner, and achieved a combined total of $24,238,500. The top lot of the collection was Alexander Calder’s “Red Curlicue,” a vibrant, monumental outdoor sculpture with gracefully arching bright red fronds that measures 16 feet at its highest point. The sculpture fetched $6,354,500, setting a new world auction record for the artist.

For more information about this sale, visit the Christie’s Web site.


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