Unseen Warhol sketches go on show in London


Dalya Alberge
Thursday 11 October 2012 12:43

Andy Warhol's name may be synonymous with mass production, but the 20th-century pop artist is set to be seen in a new light following the discovery of hundreds of his delicate drawings from the 1950s.

Sketched observations of children playing in the street, a man exercising and people dancing are among 300 previously unseen drawings that reveal his ability as a draughtsman.

Many of the sketches will be published in December in a book, From Silverpoint to Silver Screen: Early Drawings of Andy Warhol 1949-1959, edited by a Warhol specialist, Daniel Blau. He is exhibiting a few of them at this week's Frieze Art Fair in London. Some are valued at up to £150,000.

Mr Blau described the drawings as "absolutely outstanding", easily mistaken at first glance for works by Matisse or Picasso, Schiele or Klimt. Warhol studied in the 1940s, when American art education was largely orientated around the Continental tradition. Mr Blau said: "When you think of Warhol, you don't think in terms of an Old Master-style artist who sits behind the desk drawing with China ink and a quill. He did just that, as these drawings show."

In the book, he writes of first being shown the drawings: "What was... being laid out before me, stole my breath at first, then made me drunk with exaltation... I liken [it] to the uncovering of Priam's treasure."

The drawings were made available to Mr Blau through Vincent Fremont, Warhol's close associate who was a mediator for the artist's estate, the Andy Warhol Foundation. Warhol had kept them throughout his life, yet in the 25 years since his death, they had been forgotten in a chest of drawers marked "archival". Mr Blau said: "They were in a way mislabelled. They didn't really understand what they were sorting through."

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