Lifestyle & Belief

Roy Lichtenstein's 'Sleeping Girl' expected to fetch $40 million at Sotheby's


A Christie's employee looks at an art work titled "Ohhh...Alright..." by Roy Lichtenstein, at Christie's auction house in October, 2010 in London.


Dan Kitwood

New York – Though its first and only exhibition occurred 23 years ago, Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sleeping Girl” is expected to fetch $40 million when it goes to auction here at Sotheby’s in May, The Associated Press reported today.

The 1964 close-up painting, among a series of images inspired by comic books which the pop artist made in the 1960s, shows a sleeping blond woman whom the news agency described as “sexy.”

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The astronomical sum anticipated is only half the amount that Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is expected to command when it also goes on the auction block at Sothebys in May. The auction house announced that sale earlier this week.

“Sleeping Girl,” shown in 1989 and 1990 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is from the estate of Beatrice and Philip Gersh of Los Angeles, according to the AP. The BBC said in November that the auction house Christie's sold a different Lichtenstein — “I Can See the Whole Room! … and There’s Nobody in it!” — for $43.2 million.

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According to Reuters, “Sleeping Girl” will be shown in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London and here before the auction.

Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, was quoted as saying in a statement that “Sleeping Girl” was “one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century, counting iconic depictions of women by Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brancusi and Amedeo Modigliani among its peers.”

“Lichtenstein's 'girls' are arguably his most desirable works today and 'Sleeping Girl' has been coveted since it was acquired in 1964, the year it was painted. It is astonishingly fresh and vibrant, as if it were painted yesterday.”