Andy Warhol displays the scars on his torso, the most visible lingering effects of his 1968 shooting. Credit: David Montgomery/Getty Images

21 Days of Andy Warhol is Sotheby’s three-week celebration of the essential 20th century artist with one-a-day stories and videos about Warhol’s origins, influences, inspirations, all leading up to the sale of important Warhol pieces in our Contemporary Art Evening auction 13 November.

NEW YORK - Andy Warhol's preoccupation with death mortality manifested itself first and most prominently in his early 1960s Death in America series, of which Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) and 5 Deaths on Turquoise, both on offer at the Contemporary Art Evening sale in New York on 13 November, are prime examples. Warhol's death obsession transcended his art and weighed heavily on his mind – literally, as in a famed Polaroid self-portrait in which Andy balances a human skull on his head.

Convinced his own death would be quick and violent, Warhol came very close to being right when, in June 1968, Factory figure Valerie Solanas came into the studio and shot and gravely wounded him. Warhol survived the shooting, but would live with the effects of his injuries for the rest of his life. He took several photographs of his scarred body, and sat for Richard Avedon, who depicted the artist in a Christ-like pose, baring his scarred torso to maximum effect.

Tomorrow: Andy and Celebrity.