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).
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...
£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Banking - London...
£500 - £600 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£20 - £22 per hour + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Fund Administrator, Top Four ...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
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