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Warhol’s $60 Million Coke Faces Koons, Richter in Auction

Andy Warhol
"Coca-Cola (3)" (1962) by Andy Warhol. The human-size painting could fetch as much as $60 million next month. Source: 2013 Christie's Images Ltd. via Bloomberg

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Andy Warhol’s painting of an oversized Coke bottle could sell for as much as $60 million in New York next month.

The Warhol will be one of the star lots of Christie’s evening auction of postwar and contemporary art on Nov. 12. The sale also includes a Jeff Koons balloon-dog sculpture owned by newsprint magnate Peter Brant and a Gerhard Richter owned by Eric Clapton.

Unlike his later silkscreens, Warhol painted “Coca-Cola (3)” by hand in 1962, depicting a stark, black bottle on a white 6-foot-tall canvas.

“If you want to define Pop art, this is it,” said Brett Gorvy, chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s. “It’s got two icons in one: Coca-Cola and Andy Warhol.”

In 2012, Warhol was the auction market leader, selling $380.3 million of art; nine works went for more than $10 million, according to Artnet Price Database.

“Coca-Cola (3)” was consigned by the Mugrabi family, who bought the painting in 1995 from billionaire Si Newhouse.

In 2010, another Warhol soda bottle, “Coca-Cola (4),” was bought for $35.4 million at Sotheby’s by hedge-fund manager Steven A. Cohen. The Christie’s Coke painting is estimated at $40 million to $60 million and doesn’t carry a guarantee.

“I don’t think it needed a guarantee,” said Alberto Mugrabi. “There’s only one other example of this painting; it belongs to Stevie Cohen.”

The painting will be on display at Christie’s in London Oct. 12-18.

Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on dining, Laurie Muchnick on October books.

To contact the reporters of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at kkazakina@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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