Enduring value from the velvet underground
Collecting: Andy Warhol's art isn't a 15-minute wonder
Sunday 27 June 2004
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."
From £500 for a Warhol-related item to over £20m for an original painting of an icon.
30 June: Pop Art 1954-1974, Christie's, London. 1 July: Andy Warhol and the Pop Generation, Sotheby's, London (viewing starts today).
Compare with the Independent: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou aims to make buying a home easier
Life expectancy calculator will allow people to plan ahead but needs to be handled carefully
Do alternative savings offer happy returns?
How to start your own internet business
The housing market is overheating and it's time to cool off
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offers 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Database Team Lead ( Leadership, Sybase, Compute...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET D...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET S...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: Trade Suppor...
Day In a Page
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay
A three-bedroom farmhouse with a large inglenook fireplace and exposed beams
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
A two-bedroom detached house with ensuite bathrooms and a sun-drenched decked terrace, £750,000
A modern and spacious two-bedroom, penthouse flat with two bathrooms in a prestigious development
A beautifully renovated five-bedroom terrace with three reception rooms and a courtyard garden, £700,000
A four-bedroom period house which has been extended to provide almost 2,500sq ft of living space, £675,000
A pretty three-bedroom Georgian home with a 22ft drawing room and a master suite with a balcony, £525,000
A substanstial family home with five bedrooms and landscaped gardens in the much sought-after Branksome Park area
A well-presented three-bedroom house with front and rear gardens, close to White City station, £475,000
A handsome five-bedroom house in a sought-after location close to the city centre
A five-bedroom country home with valley views, equestrian stables and 27 acres of land, £725,000
A six-bedroom farm house with separate, detached cottages and 371 acres of land
A two-bedroom cottage with parquet floors, chunky beams and an open fireplace
A three-bedrrom flat with 2,733sq feet of living space, a beautiful private garden and 15 acres of communal grounds