Trade gossip before the sale circulated that mega L.A. collector David Geffen had offered $12 million as a preemptive private bid, but Sotheby’s, responding for the seller, rejected it. That’s when rumors began flying that the black-and-white, 82 ¼-by-92 ¼ inch cover lot, was going to make $40 million.
Instantly, Sotheby’s specialist Alex Rotter shouted “$12 million” from his telephone bidder and a rapid ascent began, climbing at million-dollar increments to $38 million, at which point Jose Mugrabi, on a cell phone with a Sotheby’s specialist, cut the bid to $38.5 million, though he wouldn’t go beyond the winning hammer price of $39 million.
Carol Vogel picks up the action:
It ended up selling for $43.7 million (including fees to Sotheby’s), more than three times its high estimate of $12 million. The buyer, whom Sotheby’s refused to identify, bid by telephone through Bruno Vinciguerra, the company’s chief operating officer.
Warhol Fetches $43.7m at Auction (New York Times)
Warhols Send Sotheby’s Soaring (ArtInfo.com)