Michael Jackson Performs Better Than Expected (at Christie’s Auction)

11/11/2009 11:21 AM |

Warhol Michael Jackson silkscreen

The biggest earners at last night’s Christie’s auction of Post-War & Contemporary art at Rockefeller Center (which continues today) were Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Peter Doig, but the biggest name in the sale outpaced projections too: a silk-screen portrait of Michael Jackson by Andy Warhol from 1984 sold for $812,000, well over the expected $500,000-$700,000 range. By all accounts (Post, Times, Artforum, Artinfo, Artdaily, etc.) the auction was a success, netting $74 million, so right in the middle of the $61-$88 million estimates—two of the most expensive items, a Warhol estimated at $6-$8 million and a Basquiat projected to sell between $9-$12 million weren’t picked up.

The Warhol silk-screen of Jackson is from a series executed during the Thriller years, one of which was used as the cover of TIME Magazine, and another of which is in the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. Like most great artists, Jackson continues to be more valuable dead than alive.