Andy Warhol’s “Athletes” Series to Be Sold At Christie’s

The portrait series will go up for sale for the very first time

Andy Warhol’s “Athletes” Series to Be Sold At Christie’s
By Bonnie Stiernberg / September 16, 2019 4:14 pm

Andy Warhol’s famous “Athletes” series — in which he painted portraits of Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dorothy Hamill, Tom Seaver, Jack Nicklaus, O.J. Simpson, Pelé, Chris Evert, Willie Shoemaker and Vitas Gerulaitis — will go on sale for the first time at Christie’s in November as part of the collection of Richard L. Weisman.

The 10-portrait series was commissioned by Weisman, and each one is expected to net between $200,000 and $600,000, with the exception of the Muhammad Ali painting, which is valued at $5 million.

“You have a series that comes from the original owner, and there’s this amazing commission story, they’re completely fresh to the market,” Christie’s international director of post-war and contemporary art Sara Friedlander told Observer. “They’ve never been up before.”

Weisman commissioned eight sets of the series. Two were donated to universities, and one was stolen from his home in 2009 in a heist but was recovered by the FBI in 2015.

“Richard, much like Warhol, didn’t see the hierarchy of fine art or illustration or modern versus contemporary,” Friedlander said. “It was all brought together in this very cool social world of art and sport and entertainment, and the collection really relates that.”

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