Warhol Portrait of Michael Jackson Auctioned for ‘Millions’

NEW YORK ~ A 1984 Michael Jackson portrait by iconoclastic US artist Andy Warhol was auctioned for “millions” of dollars in New York this week, less than two months after the pop icon’s tragic death.

“The auction was quite successful,” Janet Lehr, owner of Long Island’s Vered Art Gallery, said.

“We can’t talk about price. We don’t report price. It’s in the range of millions.”

The gallery earlier estimated that the portrait, which measures 76.2 by 66 centimetres, could fetch US$10 million.

The deal, Lehr said, was a good one for both the buyer and the seller.

“A speculator outdid the art collectors,” she said, without revealing the buyer’s identity. “He took advantage of the situation.”

The portrait was purchased for $278,500 in May at the Sotheby’s auction house, and the buyer decided to sell it after Jackson’s sudden death on June 25 shocked the world and sparked renewed interest in the tragic life of the “King of Pop.”

The auction was to conclude on July 12, but Vered Art stopped the sale after receiving a massive amount of inquiries. The gallery had received offers online and by telephone.

In recent years, other Warhol portraits of Jackson have found no buyers, including one put on the auction block in London in 2008.

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