NEW YORK—Christie’s sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s private collections was dominated by high-profile offerings of million-dollar jewels, but the actress’s celebrity cachet also helped to push prices of several fine artworks far higher than expected.
On Dec. 16, at the offering of fine and decorative arts and film memorabilia, the second-highest lot was a sparse ink on paper drawing by Andy Warhol, Untitled, featuring a big pair of lips, and a signed dedication, “To elizabeth a big kiss, Andy Warhol.” It was a gift to Taylor from Warhol and it far surpassed its $6,000/8,000 estimate to sell for $242,500.
It was followed by a more finished work, a silkscreen and diamond dust on canvas entitled Diamond Dust Candy Box, 1980, which was estimated at $60,000/80,000 and sold for $236,500 to a private European buyer.
The 144-lot sale also included relatively lower-priced drawings and prints by blue-chip names including David Hockney and Robert Rauschenberg as well as several works by Art Deco artist Alphonse Mucha. Laurel, a 1901 lithograph by Mucha, sold for $10,625, compared with an estimate of $3,000/5,000.
Three works by Hockney also sold well, achieving solid five-figure prices. The highest of these was a lithograph of red roses in a blue vase against a soft pastel-pink wall, Amaryllis in Vase, 1985, which sold for $98,500 on an estimate of $30,000/50,000. An untitled Rauschenberg print, executed in 1990, sold for $92,500, compared with an estimate of $30,000/50,000. In all, the sale realized $4.4 million and all of the lots found buyers.
At the online sale, held over the course of two weeks (Dec. 3–17) and limited to bids made via Internet, an acrylic on canvas by Hiro Yamagata, Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, 1991, soared past a modest $200/300 estimate to sell for $108,000.