Andy Warhol's colossal painting White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times) could sell for more than $80 million next month, making it one of his most expensive works ever sold at auction. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's
Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A painting by the late pop artist Andy Warhol could sell for more than $80 million next month, making it one of his most expensive works ever sold at auction.
The work, titled White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times), features 19 of the same image of a car crash scene overlapping each other with imperfect alignment and differing tonal values. It is based on a photograph that ran in Newsweek magazine on June 3, 1963.
The colossal painting, made with silkscreen ink and graphite on a primed canvas in 1963, is more than 12 feet tall and nearly 7 feet wide and the largest of all of Warhol's car crash works.
It is part of his Death and Disaster series, which demonstrated his obsession with human mortality. Warhol began the series by screen-printing photographs of destruction he found in newspapers such as Newsweek.
"Testifying to the work's pivotal importance within Warhol's career, the painting has been widely exhibited in Warhol's most significant museum retrospectives," a press statement from Sotheby's reads.
Only two other large-scale paintings from the series have been auctioned in the last 25 years, including the $105.4 million sale of Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) at Sotheby's in 2013. That work remains one of the few to have sold for more than $100 million.
The painting will be displayed in a public exhibition for the first time in more than 15 years when it goes on public view on Tuesday ahead of the Nov. 16 auction at Sotheby's New York galleries.
Warhol, a leading figure in the pop art movement in art history, has often been criticized for his use of photographs from news and popular culture and has faced lawsuits for copyright infringement even after his death.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear a copyright case stemming from Warhol's silk-screen prints of the late music icon Prince based on a portrait of the singer taken by renowned photographer Lynn Goldsmith.
Goldsmith, known for taking portraits of famous rock musicians, had taken the portrait of Prince in 1981. When Prince released his album Purple Rain three years later, taking him to mega-stardom, the magazine Vanity Fair spent $400 to license Goldsmith's photo for use as an artist's reference.
The magazine Vanity Fair then commissioned Warhol to make a silk-screen print based on the photo of Prince.
Goldsmith said in court documents that she was unaware that the image was to be used by Warhol and that the artist would continue to use her photograph to create a total of 16 works, including paintings and drawings, known collectively as the Prince Series.