Warhol’s ‘Big Campbell’s Soup Can With Can Opener (Vegetable)’ to Lead Auction
Andy Warhol’s hand-painted masterpiece, “Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)” (1962)—an icon of Pop Art and one of the largest examples of Warhol’s most famous image of a Campbell’s Soup can—will be sold at auction at Christie’s New York on Nov. 10, 2010.
NEW YORK – Andy Warhol’s hand-painted masterpiece, “Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)” (1962)—an icon of Pop Art and one of the largest examples of Warhol’s most famous image of a Campbell’s Soup can—is expected to the highlight of Christie’s upcoming Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, slated for Nov. 10, 2010. The piece is estimated to sell for between $30 and $50 million.
At 72 by 52 inches, “Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable)” is the first in a series of very rare, large-scale Campbell’s Soup cans—a subject matter that helped shape the course of art history in the 1960s. Of the 11 large-scale Campbell’s Soup can paintings, eight now reside in museums, foundations or are promised to museums, such as The Menil Collection in Houston, The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and The Kunsthalle in Zurich. The present lot is the most important example to come on the market in more than a decade, according to Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Deputy Chairman Laura Paulson, who says that Warhol’s soup cans challenge the traditional boundaries of art and life as well as art and business. Warhol believed anything could be touched by art: from the mundane, such as the humble Campbell’s soup can and Brillo boxes, to ubiquitous public figures and celebrities such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
Warhol’s Big Campbell’s Soup Can with Can Opener (Vegetable) “is a cultural icon and a pivotal image that changed the face of art history,” said Paulson. “With its impeccable provenance and freshness to the market, Christie’s anticipates the painting to be the most sensational highlight of the fall season.”
The Campbell’s Soup can has been described as the ultimate everyman consumer product. It is completely accessible and recognizable, making it a key icon of Pop Art. In this work, Warhol’s eponymous static soup can has been pierced by a can opener against a seamless background.
Conceived and executed in Warhol’s storied New York factory, this work has only ever been in the hands of three esteemed private collections. New York collectors Burton and Emily Tremaine purchased the work directly from the artist in 1962. In the summer of 1962 it was included in an exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, making it Warhol’s first painting to be shown in an American museum. It then moved into the hands of Ted Ashley, the then chairman of Warner Brothers, in 1972. Its current owner, Barney Ebsworth, acquired the painting in 1986. The proceeds from the painting’s sale will finance a church designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
Other Warhols to be sold in the Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary fall 2010 auctions include: “Campbell’s Soup Can (Tomato)” (1962, estimate: $6-$8 million), “Marilyn” (1962, estimate: $4-$6 million) and “Dollar Sign” (1981, estimate: $2.5$-3.5 million).
For more information about this auction, visit the Christie’s Web site.
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