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Published: Thursday, 5/17/2007

Andy Warhol painting sells for more than $71M at NYC auction, setting record for his work

NEW YORK -- An Andy Warhol painting sold for more than $71 million, more than quadrupling the previous top auction price for the pop artist's work, an auction house said.

The Wednesday auction of postwar and contemporary art took in a total of nearly $385 million, making it the second most lucrative art auction ever held, according to Christie's. The auction was to continue Thursday.

Warhol's painting "Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)," went for $71.7 million to an anonymous buyer. The previous auction record for a Warhol work was $17.4 million, set when "Mao" sold at Christie's in November, the auction house said.

"Green Car Crash," painted in 1963, is part of a series of Warhol works that drew on photographs of fatal accidents. Silkscreened over a green background, the painting uses a news photograph of a grisly crash in Seattle. It had been in a private collection for decades, the auction house said.

Several other works sold Wednesday also set records for their artists, Christie's said. They included a Jasper Johns canvas, "Figure 4," that sold for $17.4 million; an Arshile Gorky painting, "Khorkom," that went for about $4.2 million; and a Cindy Sherman photograph, "Untitled No. 92," bought for about $2.1 million.

The buyers were not identified. Calls to Christie's representatives were not immediately returned early Thursday.

The auction was the latest to smash records in a soaring art market. On Tuesday, the record price for postwar art was broken at a Sotheby's auction in New York, where a Mark Rothko painting fetched almost $73 million.

The 1950 painting "White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)," of blocks of color, sold for $72.8 million to an anonymous bidder, Sotheby's said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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