Art buffs witnessed breathtaking sales Wednesday with Roy Lichtenstein's famous masterpiece - the 'Sleeping Girl' - fetching a record-breaking $45 million at Sotheby's auction in New York.
Lichtenstein's comic-inspired painting of a young woman with blonde hair went down the hammer at a precise value of $44,882,500, topping the last record-setting art sale of his I Can See the Whole Room! ... and There's Nobody in it!, which was sold for $43.2 million at Christie's late 2011, the Associated Press said.
The 1964 painting, which was previously shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles twenty years ago, was reportedly sold by Beatrice and Phillip Gersh, the couple who founded the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). The buyer's name, however, was not revealed.
This shock of blonde hair and her sleeping face-it speaks about sexuality, desire and identity. What is she dreaming about? It was coveted from the moment it first came out of a crate, said art dealer Irving Blum to NOWNESS.com, a luxury and lifestyle website.
Also vying for the auction's top spot was Francis Bacon's 1976 Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror which was eventually sold at the same price at $44,882,500.The painting, which captured the artist and his lover, George Dyer, fetched $86.2 million at a 2008 Sotheby's auction, the AP said.
Andy Warhol's depiction of Elvis Presley as a cowboy in Double Elvis received a lukewarm bid at $37 million while his Ten-Foot Flowers scored $10.7 million at the auction. Warhol's well-known 1986 Campbell's Soup, however, remains unsold, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
Warhol's last record-breaking art sale was Green Car Crash - Green Burning Car I. It was sold for $71.7 million at Christie's.
Among other major works were those of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who broke his own record at $782,500 for his Sunflower Seeds, a life-size creation made entirely from porcelain, and which was previously exhibited at the Tate Modern in London, the AP said.
The reason for these record-breaking sales is, quite simply, the quality of material on show, art adviser Michael Frahm from Frahm Ltd said, according to the AP. The key is quality.
Wednesday's auction of contemporary and postwar art followed last week's auction of Edvard Munch's The Scream, which was sold for a staggering $119.9 million. The iconic 1895 painting has significantly exceeded its own estimated value of $80 million and is reportedly the most expensive in the history of art.