This photo from Life Magazine of Leon Kraushar among his favorite works of Pop art has become a reference point for Christie’s in its announcement of the Lichtenstein Nurse on the far left. Brett Gorvy, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Honcho, and Loic Gouzer, the head of its Monday curated sale both made reference to another painting in the picture.
That’s Warhol’s Orange Marilyn which you can see near the center of the picture, above Kraushar as he chats on the phone.
The sale of the Orange Marilyn in 1998 marks, for many, the beginning of the current art market boom. The work was originally estimated at $4-6m but ultimately made $17.3m and accounted for nearly half of Sotheby’s total sale that evening. The buyer was a very prominent media mogul who has recently retired from his post.
On Instagram, Gorvy valued the Orange Marilyn at $150m. That’s a hefty price, even for one of the most famous Contemporary pictures. In this story by Agence France Presse, Gouzer goes out of his way to link the Orange Marilyn to the nurse even though you can easily see that, for Kraushar, Marilyn, Liz and Jackie were all on equal footing.
Update: Christie’s provided this comparison of the two pictures as a starting point for the discussion.
Here’s the AFP story with Gouzer’s comment:
“Nurse,” from the height of the pop art movement in the US, is a regular in retrospectives on Lichtenstein, who died in 1997 and who was heavily inspired by advertising, comic books and popular culture.
Gouzer called the painting a sister of “Orange Marilyn,” by that other pop art heavyweight Andy Warhol.
“It’s really a masterpiece,” he said. The canvas was, in fact, once exhibited in the same room as the Marilyn, after it was first bought by renowned pop art collector Leon Kraushar, who also owned Warhol’s “Red Jackie” and “Green Liz.”
“Nurse” was acquired by its current owner at auction in 1995 for $1.65 million.