Andy Warhol and his $80 million painting depicting a suburban car wreck may end up being one of his most expensive pieces ever sold at auction

Andy Warhol, White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times) Courtesy: Southeby’s

Andy Warhol, The White Car Crash 19 Times (1963) artwork, will be put up for auction at Sotheby’s in New York in November.

At a Christie’s New York evening sale in May, Warhol’s screenprint of Marilyn Monroe, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964), brought in $195 million. In addition to breaking Warhol’s auction record, this outcome is the highest amount ever paid for an American artist at auction.

Andy Warhol’s White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times), which is expected to sell for at least $80 million, one of the highest estimates ever made for a Warhol piece at auction will take place at Sotheby’s New York contemporary evening auction.

On November 16, together with pieces by Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Francis Bacon, and Joan Mitchell, a 12-foot-tall mixed-media monochrome artwork that features a suburban automobile crash repeated 19 times will be put up for sale.

White Disaster is a result of Andy Warhol’s 1960s Death and Disaster series, in which the artist modified his well-known serialised process of image replication to produce pieces that dealt with violence, death, and devastation. The series gave birth to some of Warhol’s most commercially successful pieces, including Green Car Crash, Green Burning Car I (1963), which sold for $71.7 million at a Christie’s New York auction in 2007, and Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), which sold for $105 million in 2013 and set the record for the second-highest auction price ever paid by the artist. This auction was the final time a Death and Disaster painting was offered for sale.

White Disaster, which has been in a private collection for more than 25 years, has taken centre stage in a number of museum exhibitions devoted to the work of the artist, including displays at the Tate Modern, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The artwork will be shown for the first time in public in more than 15 years when a pre-sale exhibition for the general public debuts on November 4.

White Disaster, if it sells for its $80 million estimate, will be one of the top five most expensive Warhol lots ever offered at auction, only trailing Triple Elvis (Ferus Type), which brought in $81.9 million when it was sold in 2014 and is currently the third-most expensive piece by the artist ever sold at auction.

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