When Hopper shot Warhol... Classic prints bring $500,000 at Christie's

On January 12, 2011, Christie's completed one of its most fascinating sales of art and interiors in recent years with two classic Andy Warhols going under the hammer from the collection of Dennis Hopper.

Hellraiser and actor Dennis Hopper also happened to be an art collector of excellent taste. In fact, so good were his collecting instincts that he once bought one of Andy Warhol's now-iconic Campbell's Soup paintings for just $75.

Most famous for his iconic movie roles in films such as Apocalypse Now, Hopper's reputation as an art collector is improving even after his death.

"My idea of collecting is not going out and buying bankable names but buying people that I believe are really contributing something to my artistic life," he once said in an interview.

The two Warhols from this collection were images of Chairman Mao and Marilyn Monroe.

The first is described as a 'collaboration' between the two as Hopper fired two gun shots into the original Warhol pop art painting. It had been expected to bring $20,000-30,000.

Chairman Mao bites Dennis Hopper's bullet in this 'modified' classic Warhol

The latter is an example of what his arguably the Pop Art pioneer's most iconic image: "Marilyn: one plate (F. & S. II.27)," a screen print in colours dated to 1967. This was expected to bring $ $40,000-60,000.

In fact, bidders found Marilyn far more seductive, and chased the blonde (appearing here as a redhead) all the way up to $206,500.

But that was nothing compared to the covetable Chairman Mao. Frenzied bidders jostled bids all the way up to a stunning $302,500. Proof that Warhol's value as an investment is only going up, and fast, but also that the touch of a screen legend always adds value. Even if it's a touch with a bullet.


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