At the time when Christie’s is drawing its generous proceeds from paintings, rival Sotheby had no choice but to step up to the game. Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s 1964 painting “Sleeping Girl” fetched a new record price of $44.9 million at Sotheby’s post-war and contemporary-art sale recently. The comic-book style painting by the Pop artist (1923-1997) exceeded its high estimate of $40 million and the previous record of $43.2 million. The price included was inclusive of commission. As for the history of ownership, Phil and Beatrice Gersh had bought the 3-foot-square image of the sultry blonde from the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1964.
The Gershes (Mr and Mrs), who were also the founding members of the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, passed away in the last decade, leaving the painting in the artist’s signature for the world to reap from.