August 3, 2009

Warhol’s Jackson portrait headed to O2

Artist Andy Warhol's 1984 portrait of the late pop star Michael Jackson is going on display at London's O2 arena before it is sold at auction in New York.

The rendering will be exhibited at the venue where Jackson had been scheduled to start a series of concerts this month. Jackson died June 25 at the age of 50. He had been practicing for the O2 concert series in the weeks leading up to his death, which is still under investigation.

Warhol died in 1987 after undergoing gall bladder surgery. He was 58.

This Andy Warhol portrait brings together the uncontested King of Pop Art with the uncontested King of Pop, Janet Lehr, the private collector's representative told the BBC. The portrait was painted at the height of their careers and is a celebration of two of the great talents in global cultural history.

Warhol's portrait of iconic film star Liz Taylor, a longtime friend of Jackson's, reportedly sold for $23.7 million two years ago.

For just three days only, Andy Warhol's famous 1984 portrait of Michael Jackson will be arriving from the United States for exclusive display in the British Music Experience, the music museum at the O2 said on its Web site, adding the work has never before been exhibited in Europe.

The portrait will be shown Friday through Sunday.

It will then go straight under the hammer in New York, the Web site said.