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Late-Period Lichtenstein Could Reach $20 M. at Sotheby’s Postwar and Contemporary Sale in May

Roy Lichtenstein, Nude Sunbathing (1995).COURTESY SOTHEBY'S

Roy Lichtenstein, Nude Sunbathing (1995).


In March Christie’s announced a major consignment in its New York sale in May by plastering a painted billboard on a building in New York’s Tribeca, allowing passersby on Canal Street to see the likeness of Roy Lichtenstein’s Red and White Brushstrokes (1965) looming overhead. The work is estimated to sell for between $25 million and $35 million.

Now Sotheby’s has its own big-ticket Lichtenstein set to hit the auction block this May. The house announced today that a late-period Lichtenstein, Nude Sunbathing (1995), will be offered in its postwar evening sale May 18. It’s never before been offered at auction before, and is expected to see somewhere within the $20-million range.

“Benday dots, a vibrant red, and a seductive female temptress make this the ultimate late Lichtenstein,” Amy Cappellazzo, chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Art Division, said in a statement. “Reimagining the archetypal women that dominated his iconic early ‘60s paintings, Nude Sunbathing is unabashed in its sensuality. Lichtenstein’s larger-than-life nude in repose confidently occupies the entirety of the canvas, endowed more with the strength of her own desire rather than the vulnerability of the comic-book damsels that defined Lichtenstein’s early Girls.”

The auction record for a Lichtenstein was set in November 2015, when Christie’s sold Nurse (1964) for $95.3 million. More recently, it was reported that Agnes Gund had privately sold a work by Lichtenstein—the major work Masterpiece (1962)—for $150 million.

Nude Sunbathing is currently at Sotheby’s London salesroom, and will come to New York May 5.

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