Stolen Warhol picture raises £1.25m
A picture by Andy Warhol that had been missing for 27 years after being stolen has sold for £1.25 million at auction, Sotheby's said.
The 30 Coloured Maos (Reversal Series) silkscreen went under the hammer as part of the auction house's Evening Sale of Contemporary Art in London yesterday, which included works by Damien Hirst, Banksy, Francis Bacon and Bridget Riley.
The Warhol was stolen in 1980 while on exhibition in Paris, and its whereabouts remained unknown for almost three decades.
The acrylic silkscreen and ink on canvas picture was recovered earlier this year by the Art Loss Register after it was brought into Sotheby's in London for valuation in November 2006.
The specialist who received the work noted gaps in the work's provenance and contacted the ALR - the world's largest private international database of lost and stolen art - who tracked the history of the missing picture.
The work was sold on Thursday by the ALR on behalf of insurers.
Julian Radcliffe, chairman of the Art Loss Register, said: "The recovery of this silkscreen after 27 years demonstrates the importance of the Art Loss Register's central database of stolen art and the rigorous checking of all artworks offered for sale against the database pre-sale.
"We are thrilled to have played a part in bringing to light this long lost work and we were delighted to see it sell so successfully at Sotheby's last night."
The 30 Coloured Maos is one of six works by Warhol sold in the auction at Sotheby's which together fetched a total of £4,432,000 including premiums.
The rare masterpiece from Warhol's Reversals series was commissioned by Brun Bischofberger for an exhibition at his gallery in Zurich in 1980. It revisits the images of Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse Tung painted by Warhol in the early 1970s.
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