One of a handful of very rare proof impressions of Andy Warhol’s New Coke from 1985 is to be sold at Bonhams Prints and Multiples sale in London on 9 December. It is estimated at £15,000-20,000.
The image was commissioned for the June 1985 cover of the American magazine Time but in the event was not used. It was never a published edition and only exists in proof form making it extremely rare. The piece was once owned by the Irish rock band U2, and is unique, being the only one printed in this colour combination.
Coca Cola had a particular meaning for Warhol who saw it not only as a triumph of mass marketing and consumerism but also as a symbol of the American spirit of equality. He once said, "What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking “
Another Warhol screenprint - Banana from around 1966 - is also for sale. The image was famously used - at a different angle - on the album cover of the Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico and is estimated at £5,000-7,000. The album was the Velvet Underground’s first and although too radical both musically and thematically to be a commercial success at the time it has now achieved near legendary status. The group was regarded as the house band of Warhol’s studio - the Factory - and the artist not only designed the album’s cover but is credited as the record’s producer.