Warhol and Basquiat to star in Christie's $10m Dennis Hopper art sale

Christie's is offering artworks from the Collection of Dennis Hopper during its Post-War & Contemporary Evening and Day Sales in New York on November 10-11. 

The late Hopper, who fused film with fine art throughout his influential 60-year career, amassed a comprehensive collection of contemporary art, including prized works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

The actor-artist's collection is expected to realise over $10 million.

Under the tutelage of James Dean, who he acted alongside in Rebel Without a Cause in 1955, Hopper took an interest in the arts early on; from photography to painting, assemblage and sculpture. 

With Dean's encouragement - underscored by a passion for all things anti-establishment - Hopper pursued his own art as well as collected the works of then-fledgling artists such as Warhol, Basquiat, Claes Oldenburg, Julian Schnabel and Richard Prince. 


Actor and artist Dennis Hopper
(1936-2010)

He also counted many contemporary artists as friends and creative peers. Hopper's seminal Easy Rider — the 1969 film about two counterculture bikers that travel cross country in search of America, which he wrote starred in and directed alongside Peter Fonda and a young Jack Nicholson — earned him respect in both acting and artistic circles.

Hopper went on to act in several paradigm-shifting films, such as David Lynch's Blue Velvet opposite Isabella Rossellini and Apocalypse Now, opposite Marlon Brando.

The actor once said: "I am just a middle-class farm boy from Dodge City… I thought painting, acting directing and photography was all part of being an artist.  I have made my money that way and I have had some fun.  It has not been a bad life."

Hopper was on the forefront of the Pop Art movement, and was noted for buying Warhol's first Campbell Soup can for $75, at the artist's first show in Los Angeles.  The works of Wallace Berman and Bruce Connor, that Hopper collected derive from a beatnik generation aesthetic.

Highlights from The Collection of Dennis Hopper include Basquiat's Untitled, 1987, executed in acrylic, oil stick and graphite (estimated at $5,000,000-7,000,000) as well as Warhol's Portrait of Dennis Hopper, 1971, in synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink shades of blue, gray and ecru (estimated at $800,000-1,200,000). 

The two works will auction at Christie's Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale on November 10.

"Dennis Hopper went from cultural icon with Easy Rider to a multi-faceted artist and art collector," said Cathy Elkies, Director of Private and Corporate Collections at Christie's.  

"His relationships with artists reflect his dynamism and forward-thinking."

 

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