Warhol portrait of M. Jackson auctioned for 'millions'


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 19, 2009 at 12:11 AM EDT

A 1984 Michael Jackson portrait by iconoclastic US artist Andy Warhol was auctioned for "millions" of dollars in New York, less than two months after the pop icon's tragic death.

"The auction was quite successful," Janet Lehr, owner of Long Island's Vered Art Gallery, told AFP on Tuesday.

"We can't talk about price. We don't report price. It's in the range of millions."

The gallery earlier estimated that the portrait, which measures 30 by 26 inches (76.2 by 66 centimeters), could fetch 10 million dollars.

The deal, Lehr said, was a good one for both the buyer and the seller.

"A speculator outdid the art collectors," she said, without revealing the buyer's identity. "He took advantage of the situation."

The portrait was purchased for 278,500 dollars in May at the Sotheby's auction house, and the buyer decided to sell it after Jackson's sudden death on June 25 shocked the world and sparked renewed interest in the tragic life of the "King of Pop."

The auction was to conclude on July 12, but Vered Art stopped the sale after receiving a massive amount of inquiries. The gallery had received offers online and by telephone.

In recent years, other Warhol portraits of Jackson have found no buyers, including one put on the auction block in London in 2008.

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