Steve Martin declined to bid on the work titled “Portrait 5, Stephen(s)” when it was displayed in December on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” That was even after a shocked Martin, an aficionado of modern art, was introduced to three famous artists who added their own touches to what had been a digital print-out portrait.
Invited to offer judgment on its artistic quality, Frank Stella instantly declared the unaltered portrait a work of art (albeit with some explanation). Shepard Fairey then spray-painted his iconic OBEY to the canvas and Andres Serrano drew horns and a mustache on Colbert, then signed the work. Many observers might have thought the mustache Hilter-esque, but Colbert declared that the artist had made him look like Charlie Chaplin.
But while Martin wouldn’t part with his own cash to acquire the portrait, other art collectors now have their opportunity to bid. The work of art goes on exhibit February 25th at The Phillips de Pury & Company Auction House in New York and will go under the auction hammer on March 8th.
“I am honored to be sold in the prestigious manner usually reserved for foreclosed homes and championship hogs,” Colbert said of the upcoming auction.
Proceeds from the sale of the portrait will go to benefit school arts projects through DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that connects donors to classrooms in need. As you would expect, the auction will be filmed and aired on a future episode of “The Colbert Report.”