Warhol's Coke bottle caps $222m Pop Art auction

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The Independent Culture

The New York art market continued a run of soaring prices after a distinctive Andy Warhol Pop Art painting broke its estimated sale price and sold for $33.4m (£20.7m).

Coca-Cola (4) (Large Coca-Cola), part of a series of works completed by Warhol between 1961 and 1962, helped Tuesday night's sale of contemporary art at Sotheby's to reach a recession-defying total of $222.45m.

Works by Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein and Willem de Kooning also sold for high prices. The sales follow last week's record-breaking auction of a nude by Amedeo Modigliani, 1917's La Belle Romaine, which raised $68.9m (£42.8m). Another nude, a 6ft bronze sculpture by Matisse, recently fetched $48.8m (£30.3m) at Christie's – again, the highest amount ever paid for the artist's work.

"Two things were going on this evening: the iconic classical market and the young market," said Tobias Meyer, the worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby's. "Both benefited from the great depth of bidding in our sale, and resulted in a very strong total. Most of the bidding was from very smart collectors, some who were long-time [collectors] and others who were new sophisticated entrants from the global community."

The Warhol buyer was not recorded, but it was sold by the collector Elizabeth Rea, who purchased the painting with her late husband, Michael, at Christie's in 1983 for $143,000, according to The New York Times. The record for a Warhol was set at Christie's New York in May 2007 for 1963's Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I), which sold for $71.7m.

Other Warhol works sold on Tuesday included The Last Supper ($6.8m) and 1978's Shadows, which sold for $4.2m.