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Warhol’s Car Crash helps set highest total ever for a Sotheby’s auction

14 November 2013Written by ATG Reporter

The large volumes of money being spent in the Contemporary art market continued at Sotheby’s last night as the auctioneers posted their highest ever total for a single sale.

This was down in no small part to Andy Warhol's Car Crash (Double Disaster) which outstripped its $60-80m estimate and sold for $94m (£61.5m).

One of four Car Crash works of this scale and the only one remaining in private hands, the work had provenance to Charles Saatchi and the Gagosian Gallery but had been acquired by the vendor from the Swiss dealer Thomas Ammann in 1989.

The double panel silkscreen and spray paint on canvas from 1963 had 15 images of a fatal car crash to one side and a simple void to the other. It was knocked down to an anonymous phone buyer.

The price significantly exceeded the previous record for the artist - the $64m (£32m) seen for Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I), another of the 1963 series but a smaller single-panel work, which sold at Christie's New York in May 2007. The sum was also the fourth highest for any work of art sold at auction.

While Sotheby's also set six other artists' records, including for Cy Twombly at $19.2m (£12.5m), their overall hammer total for the 61-lot sale of $333.5m (£218m) was roughly mid-way between presale predictions of $280.7m-394.1m.

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