Admiration for Obama expressed in Fine Arts Auction in San Francisco

Just hours after American voters made history by electing the first African American as president, a signed, dated and numbered political poster by Shepard Fairey depicting Barack Obama above the word “Progress” sold for twice its pre-sale expectation. It brought $4,800 during the Nov. 5, 2008, $1.2-million sale of fine art prints simulcast to San Francisco and Los Angeles by Bonhams & Butterfields.

Obama’s image by Fairey was offered along with Picassos, Warhols, Hockneys and Chagalls – attracting competitive bids from collectors, art dealers and an international pool of clients bidding via telephone.

The Fairey print, 34 inches by 22 inches was signed in pencil by the artist, and numbered 57 of 350. It carried an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. The sale price of $4,800 includes a buyer’s premium. A round of applause followed the sale of the lot. Another Fairey print depicting Obama above the word “Hope” was also offered and sold, this lot bringing $2,700 (est. $2,000-$3,000).

Other lots grabbing bidders’ attention on sale day included an Andy Warhol screenprint from the corporate collection of New Line Cinema. Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe, 1967, sold for more than twice its estimate, fetching $84,000. American artist Ed Ruscha’s print Hollywood, 1968, a depiction of the Hollywood hills and the iconic Hollywood sign at sunset, sold within estimate for $48,000.

Works by two British artists saw strong prices. David Hockney’s View of Hotel Well III, from his “Moving Focus Series” sold for $43,800 while a lithograph by the late Francis Bacon, his Study for a Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1989, sold above estimate for $33,000.

A classic 1959 Picasso linocut signed and numbered by the master brought $30,000 and a strong selection of collectible prints by noted artists also found buyers. More than 270 lots were sold, the sale totaling more than $1,231,000.

The illustrated catalog for this sale will remain online with prices realized at

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