Andy Warhol’s “first selfie”, the painting which catapulted the pop artist to worldwide fame, has been sold at auction for £6 million.
The work appeared at auction at Sotheby’s in London, 30 years after the artist’s death in New York in 1987.
The image was created using a strip of photographs taken in a New York dime store photo-booth.
Warhol created his first self-portrait in 1963, when he was 35 – and best known for his images of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Liz Taylor, as well as Campbell’s soup cans.
James Sevier, senior specialist in contemporary art, said: “In the age of Instagram, Warhol’s fabled prediction that ‘in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes’ has never felt more prophetic, and the artist’s first self-portraits – created using a strip of photographs taken in a New York dime store photo-booth – have never felt more relevant to contemporary culture.
“This is a work of immense art historical importance that marks the watershed moment when Warhol joined the canon of the greatest self-portraitists.”
His first self-portrait came after Warhol’s dealer had been trying to persuade the pop artist to turn his eye on himself for some time, saying: “People want to see you. Your looks are responsible for a certain part of your fame.”
In 1968, the artist was critically wounded by a gunshot and, although he survived, themes related to the fragility of human life became more prominent in his work.
His later self-portraits feature skulls and became “more meditative and reflect on the idea of death”.
The acrylic and silkscreen ink portrait is being sold by a private collector, who has had the image since 1985.
Other notable sales from Sotheby’s on Wednesday night included Roy Lichtenstein’s Two Paintings With Dado (1983) which went for £3.3 million and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled (1983) which sold for £6.5 million.