October 5 (Reuters) – A felt-tip boxing sketch by the late Muhammad Ali sold for more than $ 425,000 on Tuesday at a New York auction of his little-known artwork, some of which have exceeded estimates several times over.
The sketch, titled “Sting Like a Bee,” and drawn on paper in 1978 was the most sought-after work of over 20 paintings, drawings and sketches by the former heavyweight champion that reflected Ali’s interest. for religion, social justice and his own. career. He was carrying a pre-sale estimate of $ 40,000 to $ 60,000.
“Ref, it floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee!” reads the bubble of a boxer knocked out by an opponent whose arms are raised in victory. Ali used this expression to describe his style of boxing.
Bonhams auctioneers said 26 works of art by Ali sold for a total of $ 945,524, more than three times the lower value of estimates. “Sting Like A Bee” was purchased by a British collector of Ali memorabilia, Bonhams said. The other buyers have not been identified.
Ali’s passion for art was little known but he liked to draw to relax after a fight or training. Some of the works for sale were traditional natural paintings, while others were more personal sketches resembling cartoons.
A 1979 red, white and blue canvas painting with the words “I Love You America” sold for $ 150,000, while a 1967 felt-tip pen sketch comparing Islam to Christianity was sold at $ 24,000.
The former world heavyweight champion, who announced his conversion to Islam in 1964 after winning the title for the first time as Cassius Clay, died in 2016 at the age of 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
His paintings and drawings come from the collection of Rodney Hilton Brown, who worked with Ali on his art.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant Editing by Bill Berkrot
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