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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Andy Warhol Paintings Not Recession Proof

Many years ago, when I was a lot younger, I owned an Andy Warhol Coca Cola T-Shirt and boy do I wish I would have kept it around. Although probably not worth as much as one of his paintings, it is always nice to have pieces of memorabilia from your past. It wasn’t too long ago that all Warhol collectibles were going for a premium price, however in these days of economic recession prices seem to be down. This is even more evident in the art world. At a Sotheby’s Auction yesterday, many pieces of art went either unsold or brought it less money than they were expected to bring including the paintings by Andy Warhol.

A compilation of 10 silkscreen paintings of skulls, which was expected to bring in more than 12 million at auction, brought in a mere $7.5 million. This compilation of paintings was first put together by a Zurich art dealer, Thomas Ammann, in 1976 and is said to represent the “the literal multiplication of death.” Each of the 10 canvases in this compilation was painted in different and contrasting colors and were signed by Warhol, who was one of the central figures in the Pop Art movement. Last year, Christie’s, sold Green Burning Car I, by Andy Warhol for a record breaking price of $71 million.

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928. Better known for his paintings and artwork, he was also a filmmaker, author and illustrator. In addition, he is also well known for the phrase that he coined regarding everyone’s “fifteen minutes of fame.” As with most artists, his work evolved as time went by. His works, which are as highly sought after today as they originally were, were the subjects of many scandals in the 1960’s. In the 1970’s, he toned down his celebrity and started getting more portrait commissions from the rich and famous including the Beatles’ John Lennon and Diana Ross of the Supremes.

Warhol was to evolve again in the 1980’s after some criticized his works of the 1970’s as too commercial and without substance. He started hanging around with other artists that were up and coming at the time including Jean-Michael Basquiat and David Salle. He had very successful exhibitions of his art and a
resurgence in the interest of Warhol paintings again gripped art collectors. Unfortunately, his life was cut short and in 1987 after routine gall bladder surgery, Warhol had a heart attack and died. However, many would agree that Andy Warhol has overly exceeded his fifteen minutes of fame.

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