Well somebody out there has money to burn ... shit, crisis what financial crisis? The pathetic and mostly lifeless contemporary art market was suddenly re-animated on Wednesday at Sotheby's New York when a silk-screen painting by Andy Warhol, produced in 1962, sold for a $43.8 million, the second highest price ever for a Warhol piece. (In 2007 his painting, Green car Crash (Green Burning Car 1), sold for a mind blowing $71.7 million.) The amazing thing about all this is that the pre-auction estimate of for the silk-screen was expected to pull in only about $8 - $12 million.
Sotheby's contemporary art auction as a whole sold $222.8 million worth of art, more than doubling the auction house's high estimate of about $98 million in sales.
The bidding for the piece 200 One Dollar Bills opened at $6 million, but instantly doubled with the very first bid from the floor – those in the biz called it “an unusually aggressive move;” I call it just weird, ego driven conspicuous consumption. Five more bidders joined in the battle before an anonymous buyer won the painting via telephone bid.
Described as a "hugely important work for American art history," its one of Warhol’s earliest silk-screens. The 80¼ x 92¼ inches canvas comprises of 200 $1 bills reproduced in black and gray with a blue treasury seal. The painting's anonymous seller bought the piece back in 1986 for $385,000. Nice profit!