Enduring value from the velvet underground

Collecting: Andy Warhol's art isn't a 15-minute wonder

For someone who once predicted that everybody would be famous for 15 minutes, Andy Warhol has had far more than his fair share. And there are no signs of his popularity declining.

"He was one of the great artists of the 20th century," says Susan Harris, director of the modern and contemporary prints department at auction house Sotheby's. "His imagery has such appeal. Young people can relate to it and it's instantly recognisable. Anyone who bought one of his prints in 1994 will certainly have seen a return on their investment."

Murray Macaulay of rival auctioneer Christie's agrees: "We've seen a definite increase in the value of Warhol's work, particularly in the last two or three years. There was an exhibition at the Tate Modern three years ago which helped boost interest, and it's looking very strong at the moment."

Tom Sokolowski, director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, says part of Warhol's genius, and a reason for his enduring popularity, was that he produced accessible art.

"He used a style people were comfortable with," he says, "with subjects that people were familiar with, and in different sizes so that at least one would fit in their homes. He once said: 'Art galleries should be like department stores', letting you go in and shop for what you wanted. He understood the market and his popularity has lasted."

Warhol started off working in advertising in New York. Within three years he was the highest- paid illustrator in the city. A sale this week at Sotheby's includes a number of works that show his ability as an illustrator, along with his groundbreaking printmaking. A series based on the hammer and sickle (estimated value: £8,000 to £10,000) is one example, next to the unusual Details of Renaissance Paintings (£2,500 to £4,000).

One advantage of buying Warhol prints, as opposed to his paintings, is affordability. "He was one of the first artists to use silk-screen printing seriously," says Ms Harris. These are not just mass-produced prints. Each one is signed by him and stamped with a number. With the Mao set and the Marilyn set, for example, he did 10 different colour combinations and prin-ted 250 of each. It means that you can buy a genuine portrait by a great artist for under £10,000."

The Sotheby's sale includes sets of icons such as Marilyn Monroe (estimated value £230,000 to £260,000 for the whole set of 10), Chairman Mao (£2,000 to £8,000 each) and Liz Taylor (£4,000 to £6,000 each). It also includes what Warhol called his "10 Jews": photographs of personalities such as Einstein, Freud and the Marx Brothers (£30,000 for the complete set).

Mr Sokolowski says the artist's stock will continue to rise. "Warhols have such a personal style that, even if you hate them, you'd know a Warhol as soon as you saw one," he says. "If you saw one on someone's wall, you'd know they had money. It's a label - and Andy understood labels better than anyone."

Mr Macaulay agrees: "When you see the portraits of Marilyn Monroe, you think of Warhol before you think Monroe. He is so associated with the mid-20th century that the popularity of his work will certainly last."

The original paintings are the most valuable. One of Mick Jagger sold recently for $150,000, while one of Monroe fetched $17.5m. His first Campbell's Soup series, which originally went on the market in 1961-62 for $200, didn't sell at the time. Later, they went for for $37m.

Even Warhol-related items could be worth investing in. Christie's has a poster from an exhibition at the Tate in 1971, signed by the artist, for sale this week: it is expected to fetch £500 to £700. A couple of designs for the jacket of his book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, which he also signed, have an estimated value of £1,500 to £2,000.

As with most collections, aim for the best-quality prints when investing in Warhol's works. "The condition of the prints that come up for sale varies a lot," says Ms Harris. "But if you get one in good condition, you'll know you have an original graphic work by an artist who was a master printer."

WARHOL'S WORKS

Prices

From £500 for a Warhol-related item to over £20m for an original painting of an icon.

More information

Christie's, www.christies.co.uk; Sotheby's, www.sothebys. co.uk; the Andy Warhol Museum, www.warhol.org; www.warhol.dk - a website dedicated to the artist.

2004 events

30 June: Pop Art 1954-1974, Christie's, London. 1 July: Andy Warhol and the Pop Generation, Sotheby's, London (viewing starts today).

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

    Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

    £30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable