NEW YORK (AP) — Potential buyers will have to dig deep as New York City's frenzied fall auction season gets underway with blockbuster works of art poised to set records.
Among the blue chip offerings is Andy Warhol's "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)," a provocative double-panel painting that Sotheby's estimates could bring as much as $80 million at its Nov. 13 postwar and contemporary sale. The current Warhol auction record is $71.7 million for "Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)," set in 2007.
A day earlier, Christie's is offering a 1969 triptych by Francis Bacon of his friend and artist Lucian Freud. The auction house says "Three Studies of Lucian Freud" could topple the $86 million auction record for the artist set in 2008 for his 1976 "Triptych."
It remains to be seen if either can surpass the nearly $120 million paid at Sotheby's in spring 2012 for Edvard Munch's "The Scream." The painting is the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.
"The market can absorb all this and much, much more," said art dealer Richard Feigen. "Liquidity proliferates all over the world.
"Sellers are selling because they fear the market may peak and they want out, hopefully at the top," added Feigen, who runs the Upper East Side gallery Richard L. Feigen & Co.
Warhol produced four paintings in the "Death and Disaster" series. The other three are in museums.
Measuring 8 feet by 13 feet, the 1963 silver work captures the immediate aftermath of a car crash, a twisted body sprawled across its mangled interior. It has been seen in public only once in the past 26 years.
Sotheby's also is offering a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor by Warhol. "Liz #1 (Early Colored Liz)" is estimated to fetch between $20 million and $30 million.
Christie's also has an iconic Warhol, "Coca-Cola (3)," at its Nov. 12 sale with a pre-sale estimate of $40 million to $60 million.
The two-week season begins this week with impressionist and modern works of art.
Christie's Tuesday evening sale includes Alberto Giacometti's "Diego in plaid shirt," estimated at $30 million to $50 million. The 1954 portrait of Giacometti's brother, his most frequent subject, has been in a private collection for more than two decades and has never appeared at auction.
Sotheby's Wednesday evening sale includes another major work by Giacometti, "Large Thin Head (Large Head of Diego)," a sculptural representation of his younger brother featuring an exaggerated profile and knife-edge frontal view. It is expected to bring between $35 million and $50 million.
The auction record for any Giacometti work is $103.9 million, set by "Walking Man I" in 2010.
On Nov. 12, Jeff Koons' whimsical "Balloon Dog (Orange)," a 10-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture resembling a twisted child's party balloon, is going on the block at Christie's, where it's expected to sell for up to $55 million. It's one of five monumental balloon dogs Koons has created in different colors. All are in private hands. It is being sold by newsprint magnate Peter Brant to benefit his Brant Foundation Art Study in Greenwich, Conn.
At the same sale, a bright orange-yellow and white painting by Mark Rothko could fetch up to $35 million. Created in 1957, the large-scale "Untitled (No. 11)" oil painting is reminiscent of a radiating sunset. Last May, Christie's sold Rothko's "Orange, Red, Yellow" for $86.8 million, a record for any contemporary artwork at auction.