King of Pop, as seen by the King of Pop Art

PUBLISHED: 16:25 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:02 25 August 2010

ON SHOW: Warhol’s Michael Jackson.

ON SHOW: Warhol’s Michael Jackson.

TWO icons of the pop world came together for a brief exhibition before an auction expected to fetch millions of pounds.

TWO icons of the pop world came together for a brief exhibition before an auction expected to fetch millions of pounds.

Andy Warhol's portrait of Michael Jackson, completed in 1984, was unveiled for three days last week at the O2 Arena, where the late pop legend was due to perform 50 concerts before his sudden death in June.

The portrait, with a green background, is one of five known Jackson portraits by Warhol and was due to be auctioned at the Vered Gallery in East Hampton, New York, last month.

Organisers postponed the auction so the portrait could be seen at the O2's interactive British Music Experience exhibition, the only showing in Europe before it goes under the hammer on August 18.

The opening auction bid is set at £500,000, but the average Warhol portrait fetches £10million.

Janet Lehr, partner at the Vered Gallery and agents for the seller, said: "This Andy Warhol portrait brings together the uncontested King of Pop Art with the uncontested King of Pop.

"The portrait was painted at the height of their careers and is a celebration of two of the great talents in global cultural history."

The top price for a Warhol picture at auction is £42million for Car Crash, and the top price for a Warhol portrait £17million for Lemon Marilyn - both sold at Christies in New York in 2007.

Warhol's (Green) Michael Jackson portrait was commissioned by Time Magazine to celebrate world record-breaking sales of the Thriller album, which has gone on to sell more than 100 million copies. When Jackson's Thriller video hit MTV in 1984 it rocketed to the top of the charts and became the greatest selling video of all time.

The Michael Jackson portrait with a yellow background is in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC.


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