Andy Warhol Foundation reaps $17 million from auction sales

NEW YORK Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:57pm EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hundreds of Andy Warhol artworks earned more than $17 million at a Christie's single-artist sale, the first in a series to raise money for the artist's foundation, the auction house said on Tuesday.

Warhol's "Endangered Species: San Francisco Silverspot" was the top earning item at $1.25 million in Monday's sale of more than 354 works, which drew bidders from China, Russia, Europe and the United States.

Proceeds from the auction will go to help The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts expand its activities.

"Warhol's enduring appeal was underscored by a 91 percent sell-through rate by lot, with photographs and prints performing exceedingly well," Amy Cappellazzo, chairman, Post-War & Contemporary Development at Christie's, said in a statement.

"Endangered Species-Bighorn Ram," sold for $842,500.

"Jackie," a red screen print and paper collage from 1960 of Jacqueline Kennedy, fetched $626,500. Kennedy, a supporter of the arts, was the wife of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1963.

The Warhol foundation announced in September that it would sell 20,000 Warhol works through Christie's, including silk screen paintings, photos and drawings by auction and online.

Warhol, who died in 1987, was prolific. The highest price paid for a Warhol was $100 million for "Eight Elvises" in a private sale, according to Art Market Monitor.

Many of the items in Monday's auction sold beyond their pre-sale estimate including "Self-Portrait in Fright Wig," which brought in $50,000, more than double the anticipated price.

"This first sale has proved to be a fitting marker for the Foundation's 25th anniversary year," said its president Joel Wachs.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Paul Casciato and Grant McCool)

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