Warhol’s are coming out of the woodwork this week for the Fall sales in New York. Judd Tully has Christie’s $35m Statue of Liberty work from 1962. The work is both from an important—and rare—series and boasts an appealing provenance:
This large, almost-square painting is one of 10 tagged in the first volume of the Andy Warhol catalogue raisonne as “Optical Paintings,” all of them executed in 1962. The most famous is probably “Optical Car Crash” from the Kunstmuseum in Basel, which is also closely related to “Red Explosion (Atomic Bomb)” (1963), featuring a giant mushroom cloud in similar repetitions. But only one other painting of this rarified Optical Paintings group from 1962 depicts the Statue of Liberty (it’s at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh), making the Christie’s lot all the more desirable as the quintessential American trophy (it will go on offer a mere two weeks after the 2012 Presidential election).
The painting also boasts a rock solid provenance: It was first owned by the Berlin super collector Erich Marx, and later handled by the storied Zurich dealer — and huge Warhol booster — Thomas Ammann. It next resided in the Switzerland-based Daros Collection and remained there until two years ago when Brett Gorvy, Christie’s chairman and international head of Post-War and Contemporary art, brokered the picture in a private transaction to an American collector who is now, in turn, selling the painting without any financial guarantee.