Warhol’s “200 Dollar Bills” Breaks the Bank at Sotheby’s

11/12/2009 9:16 AM |

Andy Warhols 200 Dollar Bills

The upper echelons of the commercial art world are doing just fine, if the last two days of Christie’s and Sotheby’s modern and contemporary art auctions are anything to go by. On Tuesday Christie’s did somewhat better than expected, though two pieces that didn’t sell would have provided a huge boost.

And last night the world’s wealthiest collectors worked themselves into a bidding frenzy at Sotheby’s over Andy Warhol’s “200 Dollar Bills” (pictured), a silkscreen painting of 200 one-dollar bills from 1962 projected to sell for between $8 and $12 million, which ended up going to an anonymous bidder for $43.7 million.

All of which sounds like a return to the situation of a few years ago, when collectors were paying absurd prices for contemporary artists with lots of buzz and not much merit, but there’s a crucial difference here: these bidders are spending millions on museum pieces by big names from modern art history. Though the Times construes last night’s Warhol pandemonium at Sotheby’s as some sign that the art world is emerging from its recession bunker, putting your money into a Warhol or a Jasper Johns is basically like buying gold.

One Comment

  • I feel great sympathy for the men, woman, and children whom have lost their lives. There have been a series of plane/train/car accidents related to Andy Warhol’s Death and Destruction phase. Some people are obsessed by old movies and art. They try to make events come true in real life, hence increasing the value of the art work. The small plane crash on 3/22/09 in Montana was highly suspect. The Air France crash on 5/31/09 was suspicious. Within a very short period of time two other commericial airlines crashed. On 8/8/09 a small plane and helicopter collided over the Hudson. There was scant media coverage of the marine helicopter/small plane collision in San Diego on 10/31/09. There is a lot of pressure not to investigate for foul play. I hope just investigations are conducted in the future. Good policy uncovers cover-ups!