An Andy Warhol portrait of Mohammed Ali is estimated to achieve up to £5million.
Continuing with their 20th century season, Christie’s upcoming post-war sale in February offers up works from some of the giants of contemporary art.
The works on sale range from the 20th and 21st century and include pieces from international contemporary and post-war artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jean Dubuffet, Mel Ramos, Bridget Riley and Tom Wesselmann.
Highlights from the evening include Mel Ramos’ Hunt for the Best (estimate £300,000-500,000), and Tom Wesselmann’s 32 Year Old on the Beach (estimate £600,000-800,000).
A number of Warhols make up the sale, including his Brillo Soap Pads Box (estimate £300,000-£500,000) and Knives (estimate £2.5-£3million), but it is Mohammed Ali, his colourful portrait of the world-famous boxer, that is the star of the show. The piece is also signed on the reverse by Mohammed Ali. The portrait was executed in 1977 and is acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen.
Warhol’s depiction of the boxing legend was once described by the New York Times as “truly iconic”, and Christie’s describes the work as a “meeting of giants”. The portrait was commissioned by collector Richard L. Weisman as part of a series of ten by Warhol called Athletes. Weismann kept a number of works from the series by Warhol (including this particular Muhammad Ali for himself).
According to a biography of Ali, Muhammad Ali: In Fighter’s Heaven, when Ali was presented with a version of the work he said to Weisman: “This is by far the best painting I have ever had of myself,” Ali enthused. “It’s a strong painting,” Weisman acknowledged. “I can also see a softness and a compassion,” elaborated the boxer. “As a matter of fact, I can see many moods.”
Mohammed Ali will go on sale as part of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on the 12 February 2020.