Modern Love: Warhol's $700,000 Last Supper shows Contemporary Art's appeal

New York auctioneer and art exhibitor Phillips de Pury has released information about the highlights of its 'Contemporary Art Evening Sale', which will be held on March 4.  There is much on offer that will be of interest to collectors; the ongoing success of contemporary art as an alternative investment makes the work up for sale even more interesting.

A major highlight - as is often the case - is an Andy Warhol painting described as his "Last Will and Testament" by the auctioneers.  The painting, entitled 'Detail of the Last Supper/Be a Somebody with a Body', is one of a series of pieces the artist created, juxtaposing religious and pop culture imagery.

The painting depicts a body builder with the phrase 'Be a Somebody with a Body' above him, suggesting the importance of physicality.  Superimposed over the top is the outline of Jesus Christ, who glances downward towards the body builder.

Warhol's blending of spiritual and popular images is striking and an interesting, but subtle, social commentary on the supposed importance of masculinity and physicality, and the contrasting decline of religion.  One of his last pieces - it was created between 1985 and 1986 - it has an estimate of $500,000-700,000.


'Details of the Last Supper/Be Somebody with a Body'
'The power of Christ compels you' - Warhol's late-era masterpiece

Also of note is an installation named 'No Title', by Cady Noland.  Created in 1992, the work is very American, including the draped flag of the country.  The installation raises questions about space, materials and the meaning of art.  Noland's influential work is highly respected - and as such, this is expected to realise $400,000-600,000.

Another leading work included in the auction is 'Untitled (Pink Butterfly Green mg03)' by Mark Grotjahn.  Painted in 2003, the geometric, abstract piece is dominated by soft-pink tones, forming a butterfly wing design from wedges of colour.  This unique take on the abstract and renaissance perspective has a pre-sale estimate of $300,000-400,000.

This auction underlines the importance and influence contemporary art continues to have on the current art market - as we reported last week, Christie's recently held a highly successful contemporary sale, setting several records.  Phillips de Pury will hope to achieve similar success with its select range of exciting works.


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