Saturday, April 3, 2010

Crichton art on auction block

NEW YORK -- Best-selling author Michael Crichton's art collection is going on the auction block May 11-12.
Among the highlights is Jasper Johns' "Flag."
Christie's auction house says the pop art rendition of the American flag has never been on the public market.
Crichton, who was born in Chicago, died in November 2008. He owned a 20th century art collection featuring some of pop art's best known artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Johns.
Crichton was a leading authority on Johns and bought ''Flag'' directly from him in 1974.
Crichton's family is selling about 80 percent of the collection.
About 70 items will be displayed at Christie's Rockefeller Center galleries today through April 13, including works by David Hockney, Jeff Koons and Pablo Picasso.
Christie's says the Johns collection is the most comprehensive to come to market. ''Flag'' decorated Crichton's Beverly Hills bedroom and was last exhibited in 1992-93 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Brett Gorvy, deputy chairman of Christie's Americas, said Crichton was generous in lending works from his collection for exhibitions, but was possessive about "Flag."
"With the 'Flag,' it was such a personal thing because of his relationship with Johns," said Gorvy.
The "Flag" has a pre-sale estimate of $10 million to $15 million, but Gorvy believes it will set a world record for the artist.
"It will go substantially higher," given that the work "is so superb and rare . . . and coming from a famous fella and also from someone who understood the artist," he said.

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