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    A woman stands in front of portraits of former Soviet Union leader Vladimir Lenin 'Lenin', Black, (1986), left, and 'Lenin', Red, (1986), right, by US artist Andy Warhol in the exhibition 'POP. David Hockney, Uwe Lausen, Andy Warhol' during the press preview in the museum Gunzenhauser in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Friday, June 19, 2015

    Lenin Lives: Warhol Portrait of Bolshevik Leader Actioned Off for $4.7 Mln

    © AP Photo / Jens Meyer
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    Andy Warhol’s portrait of Lenin commanded top dollar at Sotheby’s Frieze Week sale; the black painting has been auctioned off for $4.7 million (£3,061,000).

    Previously, the canvas was bought at a Sotheby’s auction in 2002 for £358,650 ($554,150) presumably by London jeweler Laurence Graff, according to the global art market newswire Artnet.

    According to Sotheby’s catalogue note, Andy Warhol’s series featuring the Bolshevik revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin was to be the artist’s last major body of work.

    The canvas is 183cm in height, the second largest from the series of paintings that Warhol created in 1986 for an exhibition scheduled to be held the following year with the German gallerist Bernd Klüser.

    “Along with its counterparts, this monolith-like black painting certainly belongs among the most austere and solemn of the artist’s late practice, and, along with the earlier 1970s Hammer and Sickle series and portraits of Chairman Mao, forms an intriguing riposte to the consumer products and capitalist tokens that first propelled Warhol to the forefront of the international art world.”

    The top lot was Jean Michel Basquiat's six-foot (182 cm) canvas Untitled (The Black Athlete) (1982), which went unsold the last time it was put up for bid in 2004 with a $1.2 to $1.8 million estimate, according to Artnet

    Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (the Black Athlete)
    Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (the Black Athlete)

    A while later, around 2009, it appeared at Christophe van de Weghe's New York gallery and was reportedly sold to London jeweler Laurence Graff with an asking price of 3.5 million euros ($3.9 million).

    The work has been sold for £4,069,000 ($6.28 million).

    "Executed in this pivotal year (1982), Untitled (The Black Athlete) belongs to a compelling and ambitious group of works that engender a powerful and ambiguous scrutiny of black athletes," reads Sotheby’s catalogue note.


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