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Auction of Warhol works fetches more than $17 million

| Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 12:50 p.m.

The first in a series of live and online auctions to raise money for the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York collected more than $17 million Monday.

The auction at Christie's featured 354 works by Warhol ranging from prints to photographs, some of which have not been seen by the public. Online auctions will begin in February.

Leading the sale was “Endangered Species: San Francisco Silverspot,” a print that fetched more than $1.2 million, Christie's said. Other highlights included “Jackie,” a screen print and paper collage of Jacqueline Kennedy that sold for over $626,000, more than double its high estimate of $300,000.

Christie's said the auction saw a strong demand for unique photographs and prints with many exceeding high estimates, including “Self-Portrait in Fright Wig,” estimated at $12,000 to $18,000, which sold for $50,000.

The foundation, which was instrumental in the creation of Pittsburgh Warhol Museum, said the money raised for its endowment from the sales would allow it to expand support of the visual arts, fulfilling Warhol's purpose in establishing it.

“The new level of global access to Andy Warhol's work that this series of sales makes possible, along with the bolstering of our philanthropic base, makes this an important moment for the Foundation and indeed for the world of art,” said Joel Wachs, president of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Michael Straus, the foundation's chairman, welcomed the results of the first auction.

“It has allowed us to increase our grant-making capacity at a time when the arts community needs support and has engaged an ever-expanding audience with the art of Andy Warhol,” Straus said.

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