• Andy Warhol’s masterpiece shows a glamorous and commanding Monarch.
• The artwork was part of a trove that the artist did not want sold to wealthy collectors.
• Showpiece is offering ordinary members of the public the chance to own their piece of the treasure for just £100.
Andy Warhol’s world famous portrait of the Queen will be sold to the public as part of the Monarch’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The ‘Elizabeth II’ screen print (1985) has been acquired by Showpiece.com and will enter into fractional ownership — a scheme which allows ordinary members of the public to buy shares for just £100.
The pop art masterpiece was based on a photo by Peter Grugeon which was released in 1977 to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Ironically this was the very same photo the Sex Pistols defaced on the sleeve of their hit single ‘God Save the Queen’, which itself is going back on sale in the summer.
In stark contrast, Warhol wanted to celebrate the Queen, seeing her as a symbol of beauty and power in the celebrity age.
The American artist admitted he was in awe of his subject, declaring it his ambition to one day be “as famous as the Queen of England.”
Royal enthusiasts will be able to register their interest from today at Showpiece.com with the sale going live in July.
A secondary market where shareholders can sell their shares is expected to open later in the year after the general sale closes.
Warhol’s day-glo masterpiece was part of a series of screen prints entitled ‘Reigning Queens’ which contained sixteen portraits of the four ruling queens at that time in the world: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Each was produced on different colour backgrounds.
In 2012, the Queen herself bought four of the portraits for The Royal Collection Trust to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
Opportunities to buy a signed Andy Warhol are few and far between, with crypto and tech billionaires entering the market and driving up prices. His Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964) became the most expensive 20th-century piece of art ever when it was sold by Christie’s for £158million earlier this week.
The 100 x 80cm ‘Elizabeth II’ is printed on Lenox Museum Board and has been signed ‘HC 3/3 Andy Warhol’, meaning ‘Hors Commerce’ or do not sell.
Prints marked HC only very rarely make their way onto the open market and are in high demand due to their scarcity. The portrait also carries Warhol’s unique stamp on the reverse.
Provenance of this piece has been traced all the way back to its purchase from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Showpiece.com is dividing ownership into 3500 pieces — or shares — which people will be able to purchase for £100.
In recent years fractional ownership has transformed the world of fine art and iconic collectables. Recent offerings have included art works by Banksy and the £8million
Magenta stamp. Typically a trust is established for each item which is then split into fractions. Owners can vote to accept or decline future bids and are then paid out on a pro-rata basis. Buyers will be limited to a 10% stake in the Andy Warhol print.
Dan Carter, co-founder of Showpiece.com, commented: “This is a moment in history and we wanted to mark the Queen’s milestone of 70 years on the throne with an offering which would appeal to the many, not just the few.
“No one was more passionate than Andy Warhol about making art accessible to a broad audience, which is why it’s great that you don’t need a big chequebook anymore to own and enjoy one of his works.
“This is a stunning portrait of female leadership, and we are sure it will resonate with a broad audience.”
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