Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Kim Kolker and Andy Warhol

In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to appraise a print by an artist who just continues to set auction records.

A client who in the 1990s purchased a signed and numbered Warhol print " Mick Jagger 140" found that her initial purchase price of $5,000, has since grown to a retail replacement cost in a gallery of approximately $90,000.  Signed by both Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol, this print was part of a series of 10 screenprints from 1975, in an edition of 250 with 50 artist proofs and 3 printer proofs, based on Warhol's own photographs. 

Warhol's work has been overall steadily gaining in price since the 1990s. Last time I checked Artnet.com, there were 331 galleries and auction houses that were selling his work.  Artcyclopedia lists his work as part of the collections of 144 museums worldwide. It is almost impossible to understand today's world of advertising and graphic design without knowing of Warhol's work. Certainly, a study of his current market influence could take someone months of studies, so I will not even attempt a crude condensation. However, I will say that even in craft stores like Michael's, one can purchase a Warhol-inspired canvas print of your favorite photo, one photo repeated in four equal quadrants and printed in bright, flat colors like a silkscreen print.

In 1986 I had the pleasure of meeting Warhol at a Dallas local bookstore signing for his book "America". It is primarily a picture book of 10 years of black and white Polaroid archives, culled from his exposure to the famous and elite like Betty Davis, Sylvester Stallone, Pee Wee Herman or Madonna, to anonymous crowds on American streets, accompanied by his own commentary. I was told much later that none of the pictures were actually taken by Andy. For a long time I thought this was true.  Just a little fun Andy was having and the joke was on me.  Now I am not so sure.  Given that he once called himself, "deeply superficial", I might never know. Let the buyer beware.

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