Andy Warhol’s Liz No. 5
Andy Warhol’s Liz No. 5 is iconic 1963 silkscreen portrait of film legend Elizabeth Taylor.
Liz #5 was painted at the height of the actress’ fame, which coincided with the most significant and creative period of Warhol’s career.
Painting and back story
The glamorous portrait embodies the most important themes of Warhol’s oeuvre including celebrity, wealth, scandal, sex, death and Hollywood.
The epitome of old-world Hollywood style and glamour, Liz Taylor – who died on March 23, 2011 – was one of Warhol’s most famous inspirations, alongside Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy.
Taylor captured Warhol’s attention early on with her life’s high-profile romances and tragedy; it was this vibrancy and pathos that so attracted Warhol to her and ensured she was a formidable influence on his work throughout his career.
In his own words he once said: “Elizabeth Taylor, ohhhh. She’s so glamorous.”
Said Michael McGinnis, Senior Director and Worldwide Head, Contemporary Art for Phillips de Pury, prior to its sale of the painting on May 12, 2011:
“Liz #5 is a pristine gem. It is Warhol at his very best with a perfect screen, glowing colors, and impeccable provenance. She is classic yet every bit as cutting edge as she was when Warhol painted her nearly 50 years ago. Liz #5 embodies everything that a major collector of 20th and 21st century art desires and we are thrilled to offer this rare and exciting opportunity to the market."
In March 2011, it was announced that Andy Warhol’s Liz No. 5 would be auctioned on May 12, 2011 at Phillips de Pury’s Manhattan gallery.
The painting was entered in part I of the company’s Contemporary Art auction and expected to make $20 million to $30,000. Internet live bidding was provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.
The consignor was rumoured to be hedge fund manager Steve Cohen of SAC Capital, from the estate of famed art dealer and collector Ileana Sonnabend.
Beginning in the early 1960s her gallery was instrumental in introducing postwar American Art to Europe and she represented the most prolific and groundbreaking artists of her time including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.
Liz #5 remained in her personal art collection until her death in 2007.