Warhol's Jackson Portrait Could Set Record

Gallery acquired portrait just after MJ's death

By Emily Feldman and Hasani Gittens
|  Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 8:40 AM EDT
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Michael Jackson's Stuff on the Auction Block

Have at least $800,000 to spare? Bid on this.

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A portrait of the king of pop, painted by the king of pop art has hit the auction blocks, and may pull in record bids.

The Hamptons' Vered Gallery, which will hand the painting to the highest bidder Tuesday, calls Andy Warhol's "The King of POP, MICHAEL JACKSON," "the greatest work to come to auction," due in part to incredible timing.

The classic picture, of one icon by another, could fetch tens of millions of dollars.

"Warhol as an artist has been doing very well at auction this summer," said Vered Gallery co-owner Janet Lehr. "Warhol was, is, and will be superior investment-grade art."

Time magazine commissioned the artwork in 1984, when Michael Jackson, then 25, was at the height of his career, and becoming an international icon. Warhol completed 5 Jackson portraits, one of which made the cover of the magazine and eventually landed in The National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

Warhol's highest selling portrait to date, "Lemon Marilyn" -- a portrait of another international icon -- pulled in $28,040,000 at a 2007 Christies Auction.

"Green car crash -- Green burning car," broke the record for highest selling Warhol painting at the same auction, selling for $71,720,000.

The Vered Gallery has already received numerous bids for the Jackson portrait. The auction is by phone and via Internet but closes at 8 p.m. tonight. If there are tied bids the auction will go on in five-minute increments, Lehr said.

"Warhol is your numero uno artist today," said Lehr. "He and Picasso on the Internet are constantly number one, so there's every reason to expect a portrait of Michael Jackson at this junction will bring an enormous amount of money."

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