Andy Warhol's iconic 'Triple Elvis' painting sells for $81.9 million

Warhol's iconic works, Triple Elvis
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Andy Warhol's iconic 'Triple Elvis' painting sells for $81.9 million
Two women carry the artwork 'Triple Elvis' by Andy Warhol at the museum Brandhorst on May 15, 2009 in Munich. The museum which shows works from the contemporary arts collection of Udo and Anette Brandhorst is set to open to the public on May 21, 2009. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)
A man sits in front of a self-portrait by US artist Andy Warhol as part of the exhibition 'Warhol' on April 17, 2014 in Rome. The works of the artist, father of American Pop Art, will be housed in the renovated rooms of the Museo della Fondazione Roma, Palazzo Cipolla from April 18 until September 28, 2014. The exhibition features over 150 works, paintings, photographs and sculptures from the collection of Warhol's friend Peter Brant. The works on display range from Warhol's early drawings right up to his Last Supper series, first presented in Milan in 1987 in what was to be his last exhibition before his death that same year. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at portrait photographs of US artist Andy Warhol (L), Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei (R) and art critic and curator Henry Geldzahler (2R) by British photographer David Bailey at an exhibition of his works where over 300 prints are exhibited in London on February 5, 2014. As well as new work, this exhibition includes a wide variety of Baileys photographs from a career that has spanned more than half a century. (Photo by Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 20: Andy Warhol, Martha Graham (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Andy Warhol at Studio 54 in New York City, October 1981. (Photo by Robin Platzer/Twin Images via Getty Images)
Andy Warhol (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Andy Warhol (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Andy Warhol with italian actor Alberto Sordi posing for a photo on December 31, 1986 in New York, New York. (Photo by Santi Visalli/Getty Images)
Andy Warhol and Keith Haring (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage via Getty)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Extremely rare portraits by Andy Warhol of Hollywood superstars Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando were among the highlights at a record-breaking auction of postwar and contemporary art on Wednesday.

Warhol's "Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)" sold for $81.9 million and "Four Marlons" brought in $69.6 million at Christie's, which said the evening sale realized $852.9 million, the highest total for any auction.

Works by Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly also broke auction records for the artists.

"Triple Elvis" and "Four Marlons" rate among Warhol's most famous portraits. The nearly 7-foot-high portraits were acquired by German casino company WestSpiel in the 1970s for one of its casinos.

The Elvis, executed in ink and silver paint in 1963, depicts the rock 'n' roll heartthrob as a cowboy, armed and shooting from the hip. The Brando silkscreen, created three years later, shows the actor on a motorcycle in a black leather jacket, an image that is repeated four times.

Christie's Shatters Art World Record with Biggest Sale Ever

Warhol produced a series of 22 images of Elvis. His "Double Elvis (Ferus Type)" sold for $37 million at Sotheby's in 2012.

Last fall, his "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)" set an auction record for his work when it sold at Sotheby's for $105.4 million.

There's only one other four-times Brando, in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. A "Double Marlon" sold at Christie's for $32.5 million in 2008.

De Kooning's "Clamdigger," a life-size sculpture created in 1972, sold for $29.2 million, a world auction record for a sculpture by the artist. The bronze sculpture never left the artist, and it stood in the entry of his studio on eastern Long Island for about four decades.

The inspiration for it came from the clam diggers the abstract expressionist artist observed on the beach every day.

"Clamdiggers" was offered for sale by the daughters of Lisa de Kooning, who inherited the sculpture from her father when he died in 1997. She died in 2012.

The auction record for any work by de Kooning is $32.1 million for "Untitled VIII," set last year at Christie's.

Twombly's "Untitled," one of the famous series of "Blackboard" paintings he made between 1966 and 1971, brought in $69.6 million, a world auction record for his work. With their spiraling lines on a dark gray background, the paintings were so-named because they resembled the slate of classroom blackboard.

An oversized sculpture of a monkey by the popular artist Jeff Koons was another auction highlight.

Koons' whimsical stainless steel "Balloon Monkey (Orange)" fetched $25.9 million. Measuring nearly 12 feet high and 20 feet long, it looks like an inflated twisted balloon.

Koons became the most expensive living artist last year when his "Balloon Dog (Orange)" was auctioned for $58.4 million. A retrospective of his work recently closed at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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