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Warhol's art accumulations sell for total of $25.3 million

By FREDERICK M. WINSHIP, UPI Senior Editor

NEW YORK -- The 10-day auction of pop artist Andy Warhol's vast collection of trinkets and treasures ended Tuesday with a total of more than $25 million, two-thirds more than the top pre-sale evaluation of art experts.

The sale of 3,436 lots amountingto more than 10,000 individual items attracted dealers and collectors from Europe, Japan and all over the United States to Sotheby's auction gallery along with thousands of ordinary people who wanted to own something that had been possessed by Warhol, who died last year.

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Niney-eight percent of the Warhol items, ranging from cheap plastic wrist watches and dime store cookie jars to rare American Indian artifacts and masterpieces of Art Deco furniture, were sold. Only 78 lots failed to get the reserve bid set before the sale and reverted to the Warhol estate.

A spokesman for Sotheby's said the gallery's experts had based their pre-sale evaluation of the Warhol collection of $10 million to $15 million on current market value alone and had not attempted to assess the extra value accrued to it because it had been owned by one of the most public figures in modern art.

Proceeds of the sale will go to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, according to the terms of Warhol's will. When the sale of his real estate, his own paintings retained by the estate, and his magazine, Interview, are added to this, the foundation is expected to have about $40 million in capital.

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'Those of us connected with the foundation are delighted with the results of the sale,' said Fred Hughes, foundation president and estate executor. 'Andy and I began discussion the foundation in a more limited form as far back as 1977, so it is particularly gratifying to see the foundation at a stage where it can begin to work. We will name the first beneficiaries of the foundationa shortly.'

The Tuesday morning sale completed the disposal of Warhol's important holdings of contemporary paintings, sculpture and drawings which had begun Monday evening. Warhol had obtained many of the works directly from the artists who were his friends.

An untitled grey oil painting embellished with spiraling scribbles of crayon by Cy Twombly, one of his 'blackboard' series painted in 1967, commanded the highest price -- $990,000. It was knocked down to Karsten Greve, a dealer from Cologne, West Germany. The price more than doubled Twombly's record at auction.

A colored pencil seated portrait of Warhol drawn in 1974 by David Hockney fetched $333,000, a world auction record for the British artist who lives in California. Other top prices were $660,000 for Jasper Johns' all-blue canvas 'Screen Piece' and $605,000 for Roy Lichtenstein's cartoon style 'Sailboats.'

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The Monday sale also included works consigned by collectors other than Warhol and set the world record for any post-World War II artwork - $4.8 million for Jackson Pollock's spatter painting, 'Search,' painted in 1955, a year before his death. It was knocked down to Kazuo Fujii, a Tokyo dealer.

The previous auction record for contemporary art was $3.6 million. 'Search' also set a record for a work by Pollock, breaking one of $2.57 million set last year. The painting was consigned to auction by the estate of Belle Linsky, who donated the bulk of the collection she formed with her stapler manufacturerking husband, Jack, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

'The auction went just like gangbusters with records set for 12 postwar artists,' commented Lucy Mitchell-Inness, head of Sotheby's contemporary art department. 'There was tremendous excitment in the auction room with 10 or 15 people trying to place bids at a time.'

The $26 million auction also saw a record set for a work by Warhol, '210 Coca-Cola Bottles,' a painted and stencilled work dating from 1962. It was sold to an unidentified buyer for $1.43 million, more than twice the previous record for a Warhol.

Other records set were $1.8 million for Franz Kline's black and white abstract, 'Ninth Street,' and $1.l million for Richard Diebenkorn's landscape with figure, 'July.' A Willem de Kooning 1952 pastel and charcoal on paper titled 'Women Seated and Standing,' fetched $1.2 million.

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