American Pop Master Andy Warhol’s 1986 self-portrait to gather US$14.7m in London

On 29 June, The London Sales will be underway. Following the British Art: The Jubilee Auction earlier on the day, Modern and Contemporary Evening Auction will take centre stage.

Estimated between £12 and 18 million pounds (around US$14.7 to 22.1 million dollars), Andy Warhol’s Self Portrait will head the sale. Created in 1986, months before the American Pop Master’s passing, the work was part of Warhol's iconic Fright Wig series.  

Alongside his work, masterpieces by Claude Monet, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Gerhard Richter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso and August Strindberg will also be featured.

Lot 110 | Andy Warhol | Self Portrait, Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas

Created in 1986
203.2 x 203.2 cm

  • The Estate of Andy Warhol, New York
  • Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London (acquired directly from the above in March 1989)
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1998

Estimate: £12,000,000 – 18,000,000

Created in 1986, Self-Portrait presents an image of both Warhol the man and Warhol the artistic phenomenon. Viewers see the artist tackling the challenges of self-depiction with an up-close intensity. The self-portraits' composition from 1986 are based on polaroid photographs in which Warhol’s head hovers eerily against a black background – his neck disappearing and the silver hair of his wig jutting out above his face at severe angles. The wig is the most animated aspect of the portrait, as sweeps of thick hair form strong diagonals from upper left to lower right. 

His work also represents the transformation of the artist’s ageing features in dialogue with the technical transformation of his painterly practice. Using his face as an arena for technical and compositional experimentation, by the 1980s Warhol had harnessed and honed to sheer perfection the silkscreen process which he had introduced to his fine art practice in the early 1960s.

Warhol's Self-Portrait (1986) | Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Warhol's Self-Portrait (1986) | Tate, London

The American artist at the opening of Andy Warhol exhibition at Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London in 1986

Measuring 203.2 by 203.2 centimetres, the present work is executed in the second-largest scale within this cycle of self-portraits. Works from this same subset reside in several prestigious museum collections – such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Tate, London.

The Fright Wig paintings series build upon Warhol’s earlier forays into self-portraiture and were similarly the result of a commission, but this time from the eminent gallerist Anthony d’Offay. Unveiled at d'Offay’s London gallery in 1986, many of the Fright Wig self-portraits formed the first and sole show in Warhol's career dedicated to the theme of self-portraiture. The two polaroid images that were used as the basis of this cycle of self-portraits were the ones exhibited in the landmark 1986 show – an exhibition that would become Warhol’s last major commercial outing.

Lot 120 | Claude Monet | Vetheuil, Oil on canvas

Created in 1880
60.1 by 100.2cm

  • Marie-Francois Firmin-Girard, Paris
  • Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above on 11th April 1888)
  • Arthur Tooth & Sons, London (acquired from the above on 19th June 1936)
  • Andrew T. Reid, Perthshire (acquired from the above in 1936. Sold by his estate: Christie's, London, 27th March 1942, Lot 104)
  • Private Collection, United Kingdom (purchased at the above sale)
  • Private Collection, London (by descent from the above. Sold: Christie's, London, 25th June 2002, Lot 6)
  • Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Estimate: £10,000,000 – 15,000,000

The present work depicts Vetheuil – a village northwest of Paris – where the artist lived with his family from 1878 until 1881. During this period, Monet’s growing interest in nature and the change in climate at different times of day and seasons, became ever more noticeable in his canvases.

His treatment of the same subject matter demonstrates a shift in his aesthetic objectives. He was no longer concerned with buildings and trees as objects – instead, he focused primarily on the effects of natural light as it illuminated the landscape and changed the atmospheric quality of the surroundings.

Monet's Vetheuil en ete (1880) | Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

Monet's Vue de Vetheuil (1880) | Nationalgalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin

Claude Monet 

Vetheuil is one of five works painted from the banks of Lavacourt looking across the Ile Musard towards Vetheuil. This present work is most closely related to Vetheuil en ete (Vetheuil in summer) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Vue de Vetheuil (View of Vetheuil) at Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Although both canvases capture the atmospheric effect of the landscape, this current work is painted in vibrant and intense colours – displaying a variety of brushstrokes and the dappled effect of light across the trees and water.

Monet's paintings from Vetheuil represent a critical development in the evolution of his style, when he began to strike out from the established techniques of the early imagery that he perfected while living in the northwestern French commune of Argenteuil in the 1870s. The Vetheuil canvases strike a balance between the naturalist-realist origins of Impressionism and a boldly experimental approach to capturing the changing qualities of light – a technique that became an increasingly important element in his series paintings of the late 1880s and early 1900s.

Lot 111 | Ernst Ludwig Kirchner | Selbstbildnis mit Pfeife (Self-Portrait with a Pipe), Oil on canvas

Created in 1907
52.5 x 42.8cm

  • Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Berlin
  • Hugo Simon, Berlin, Paris & Rio de Janeiro (acquired by 1931)
  • Fine Art Associates (Otto Gerson), New York (acquired by 1958)
  • Anne Burnett Tandy, Fort Worth (acquired by 1968. Sold by her estate: Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 5th November 1981, Lot 213)
  • Purchased at the above sale by the family of the present owner

Estimate: £8,000,000 – 12,000,000

Painted at the beginning of Kirchner’s career and the height of his involvement with Die Brucke (The Bridge) group of artists, this current work is the artist’s first self-portrait. It marks the start of a body of oeuvres that proved significant for the artist. Around 25 oils bear the artist’s likeness – both his figure alone and as part of a couple or a larger group; of these paintings nearly two thirds are held in museum collections.

Deeply inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s ebullient palette and self-portraits, the members of Die Brucke invested their art with a freshness that represented themselves and their life experiences. Theirs was the first distinctly German artistic movement of the 20th century, and their bold aesthetic established Kirchner and his colleagues as a reckonable force among the European avant-garde.

Van Gogh's influence on Kirchner's artistic vocabulary can be seen in the former's Self-Portrait with Pipe (1887) | Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Another example of Van Gogh's inspiration on Kirchner's work can be seen in the Dutch Master's Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat (1887) | Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

This present painting’s provenance can be traced back to its first owner during the early 20th century – Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, a German Expressionist painter and co-founder of Die Brucke. It was then acquired by prominent German banker and art collector, Hugo Simon. He assembled an art collection which spanned from French Classicism to 19th century European painting – most notably Edvard Munch's The Scream masterpiece.

In 1968, it was attained by Texan heiress and art collector Anne Burnett Tandy. She was also a distinguished patron – acting as trustee for several leading American cultural institutions – such as Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her collection encompassed works by Masters – such as Picasso, Mondrian and Matisse – many of which were donated to museums.

This work remained in her collection and was sold as part of her estate in 1981. It was then acquired by the current owners' family and will be auctioned for the first time in more than 40 years.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner 

Other highlight lots: 

Lot 105 | Gerhard Richter | Study for Clouds (Contre-jour), Oil on canvas

Created in 1970
80 x 100 cm

  • Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne
  • Private Collection, Germany
  • Sotheby’s London, 26 June 2002, Lot 12 (consigned by the above)
  • Simon C. Dickinson Ltd., London (acquired directly from the above)
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2002

Estimate: £6,000,000 – 8,000,000

Lot 121 | Pierre-Auguste Renoir | Place de la Trinite, Oil on canvas

Created in circa 1878
51 x 62.7 cm

  • Dr Georges de Bellio, Paris (probably acquired from the artist)
  • Victorine Donop de Monchy (nee de Bellio), Paris (by descent from the above in 1894)
  • Lucien Moline, Paris
  • Gustave Fayet, Igny (acquired from the above in 1903)
  • Madeleine Fayet, Igny (wife of the above; inherited from the above in 1925)
  • Paul Rosenberg, Paris (acquired from the above in 1928)
  • Alvan T. Fuller, Massachusetts (acquired by 1935)
  • Mrs Alvan T. Fuller, Massachusetts (wife of the above; inherited from the above in 1958)
  • Alvan T. Fuller Jr., New Hampshire (by descent from the above in 1959)
  • Wildenstein & Co., New York (acquired from the above in 1972)
  • Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired from the above in 1980)
  • Sale: Sotheby's, London, 2nd December 1986, Lot 20
  • Private Collection, Los Angeles (purchased at the above sale)
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2002

Estimate: £4,000,000 – 6,000,000

Lot 124 | Willem de Kooning | Untitled XVI, Oil on canvas

Created in 1985
195.5 x 223.5 cm

  • Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner in March 1986

Estimate: £3,000,000 – 4,000,000

Lot 125 | Pablo Picasso | Arlesienne, Oil on canvas

Created in 1958
55.2 x 38.1 cm

  • Solomon & Company Fine Art, New York
  • Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above circa 1986)
  • By descent from the above to the present owner

Estimate: £2,500,000 – 3,500,000

Lot 139 | August Strindberg | Wave V, Oil on canvas

Created in 1901
100 by 70.8 cm

  • August Falck, Stockholm, by circa 1912 (Falck (1882-1938) was a Swedish actor, known for his performances in Strindberg's Miss Julie and Victor Sjostrom's A Man There Was, based on a poem by Henrik Ibsen. Falck and Strindberg co-founded Intima Teatern)
  • Torsten Tegner, Stockholm (Tegnér (1888-1977) was a Swedish athlete and journalist, and son of the Swedish composer Alice Tegner. He was the editor of the Idrottsbladet newspaper for over fifty years)
  • Sale: Bukowski's, Stockholm, 25 April 1956, lot 99
  • Sidney Kingsley and Madge Evans Kingsley (Sidney Kingsley (1906-95) was an American dramatist who received the Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play Men in White in 1934; his sale: Sotheby's, New York, 23 October 1990, lot 192)
  • Purchased from the above by the present owner

Estimate: £2,000,000 – 3,000,000

Auction Details:

Auction House: Sotheby’s London
Sale: Modern & Contemporary Evening Auction
Date and Time: 29 June 2022 | 6pm (London local time)
Number of lots: 47