Two paintings from Andy Warhol’s “Death and Disaster” series have sold for more than $100 million at auction in New York.
The iconic “White Marilyn”, completed in 1962 shortly after the Hollywood star’s death, sold for $41 million at Christies after far exceeding its $12-18 million estimate.
“Race Riot" fetched $62.9 million, again surpassing its $45 million estimate. The 1964 four-panel piece depicts violent unrest in Birmingham, Alabama and was created in response to an article Warhol read in Life magazine.
Christie’s sold 68 pieces at Tuesday’s auction and raised $745 million - a world record for sales totals at a single auction.
Brett Gorvy, Christie's head of post-war art, told BBC News: "We've actually made history tonight, it was a momentous evening."
Other major artworks auctioned included Barnett Newman’s “Black Fire I” from 1961, which beat his last record of $43.8 million, and Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards”, sold for $80.8 million.
Bacon’s panels attracted a bidding surge after opening at $50 million. The 1984 artwork came onto the market a year after Christie’s sold his “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” for a world auction record of $142.4 million.
Mark Rothko’s abstract oil painting “Untitled” took $66.2 million, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ground-breaking 1981 painting of a regal warrior reached $34.9 million and Jeff Koons’ sculpture “Jim Beam JB Turner Train” sold for $33.8 million.
Koons’ “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for $58.4 million last spring to set a world auction record for a living artist.
Later today, more Warhol paintings will be auctioned at Sotheby’s. The 1986 collection of six silk-screen self-portraits in different colours shows Warhol in his famous “fright wig” and is estimated at $25-35 million.