Warhol's Mercedes-Benz W196 will auction with $16m estimate

Andy Warhol's Mercedes-Benz W196 R Grand Prix Car (Streamlined Version, 1954) joins a premier selection of the artist's greatest works at auction this November.

Andy Warhol Mercedes-Benz W196
Will the millionaire owner of the record-breaking Mercedes W196 buy the Warhol piece as well?

The piece, one of Warhol's last masterpieces, will sell with a $12m-16m estimate as part of Christie's Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York.

The work was produced especially for the Daimler Art Collection to mark the centenary of the automobile in 1986 - one year before Warhol's sudden death in 1987. It is part of the Cars series, which includes some of the most striking works in Warhol's late oeuvre.

It depicts the iconic Mercedes-Benz W196, which was driven to victory at the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s. A renowned model, it now holds the auction record for any car, after selling at Bonhams in July 2013.

To Warhol, the car became a "symbol of post-war prosperity, industrial challenge and America's fascination with the packaged image of the sleek", according to Christie's.

Warhol produced a number of works for the Daimler Art Collection, all of which are based on Daimler photographs. These were shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1988, and then in 2010 at the Albertina Museum in Vienna in the exhibition "Andy Warhol. Cars."

The Daimler Collection now contains almost 2,000 works by over 700 modern and contemporary artists, and has been frequently exhibited internationally. Proceeds from the sale will be used to further develop the collection, as well as benefit the Daimler education programme.

Both Christie's and Sotheby's will offer some of the most sought after examples of Warhol's work this November, with Silver Car Crash and Coca-Cola (3) both expected to see bids in the region of $60m.

Green Car Crash (Burning Green Car 1), which sold for $71.7m at Christie's in 2007, holds the current auction record for Warhol's work. He is currently the world's top-selling artist, and the market for his work shows no sign of slowing.

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