Warhol Icons to Fetch $130 Million

New York -- Two of the most important portraits by Andy Warhol featuring Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando will go under the hammer at Christie's on November 12, 2014.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network expect these works to be the pinnacle of the autumn art auctions.

Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] and Four Marlons -- two of the greatest icons of the 20th century culture -- have never been seen before at auction.

They present an exceptional opportunity for some rich collector, who will probably pay at least $130 million for the pair.

Christie’s remains the market authority for the artist, and retains an exclusive partnership with the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Over the last decade, Christie’s has set the highest prices for works by Warhol at auction and within the private sales sector, including most recently the sale of Warhol's Race Riot for $62.9 million, and for White Marilyn which fetched $41 million.

Elvis Leads Auction

Triple Elvis – 1963: Standing 82 inches tall and 69 inches wide, the full-figure triple portrait of the singer turned Hollywood star, is one of a series of artworks that Warhol produced for his 1963 show at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, the triple version is one of the rarest.

Standing with his trademark proud stance, legs apart and his pistol recently drawn from the holster hanging from his famous hips, Andy Warhol’s rendition of Elvis Presley dominates the canvas just as the singer dominated the cultural landscape of the 1950s and 1960s.

This image joins the pantheon of the Pop master’s Hollywood superstars, including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando. For Warhol, who was fascinated by popular culture and fame, Elvis was the perfect subject.

In Triple Elvis, Warhol selected a publicity image for a movie, Flaming Star, directed by Don Siegel.

Elvis is shown here against a silver background, a substitute for the silver screen. Warhol was a huge fan of cinema, and so it was only natural that he took his idols from movie screen to silkscreen.

Repeated three times, the use of repetition was an important strategy for Warhol. For Triple Elvis [Ferus Type], Warhol uses it to create overlapping images that are reminiscent of a film sequence. The image refers to Elvis the King, the Hollywood product designed to be adulated.

In the silver of Triple Elvis there is splendor as well as glamour. There is a religious feel to the silver, recalling some of the altarpieces of the Russian Orthodox Church, Byzantine mosaics, and the Catholic Church of Warhol's own family roots, which had such a presence in the Pittsburgh of his youth. Elvis is presented as the glistening new god for a more secular age.

Marlon Masterpiece

Four Marlons – 1966: This dramatic rendition of Marlon Brando, provides an unrivaled portrayal of one of the greatest twentieth century cultural icons.

Displayed here at the peak of his fame, Brando’s appearance in the 1953 film The Wild One (from which Warhol took this source image), captured a rebelliousness that became something of an anti-hero for an entire generation of misunderstood youth.

In Four Marlons, Warhol took a publicity still from the movie and rendered it four times across a vast expanse of raw canvas, creating a larger than life portrayal of Brando and his character Johnny Strabler.

This work is the only one from the series with the four portraits covering the entire canvas, executed on raw and unprimed linen. The material quality of Four Marlons echoes the rough masculinity of its subject.

Warhol's decision to immortalize Brando, alongside his other pantheons of the silver screen, was a personal one.

Obsessed with the movies from an early age, Warhol had long looked to Hollywood for his heroes as well as his artistic inspiration. Some of his most celebrated images are those stars who found themselves part of Warhol's hallowed beatification-like process.

So it was only natural that Warhol should turn to Marlon Brando to induct into his Hollywood Hall of Fame.

Warhol's decision to use the canvas in its natural state adds to the subversive nature of the painting, enhancing the feeling of masculinity and edginess and adding another layer to the depiction of the counter-culture that is already contained within the image itself.

Today's Featured Art Video visits the previous Christie's auction of a Warhol 'Brando' which sold for $24 million in 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXNyp245rM8&sns=em