Andy Warhol art is truly iconic, still achieving instant recognition and incredible sales records even 30 years after the artist’s death.
The artist, director and producer was a leading figure in the pop art movement. His wide works span a variety of media including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture, and explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertising, all of which flourished in 1960s New York.
We’re delighted to be able to show Andy Warhol art to our visitors at Maddox Gallery. Contact us to arrange a visit, and see some of his seminal works in the flesh.
Andy Warhol art commands huge commercial success
Most of Warhol’s creations are very collectible and highly valuable, leading The Economist to describe his work as the “bellwether of the art market.”
Only very recently unseated by Basquiat as the most expensive American artist, many of Warhol’s works cost millions. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$105 million for a 1963 canvas titled “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster).
However, he is probably best known for his works featuring popular icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Liz Taylor in his signature pop art style.
Warhol’s rise to success
Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator. After exhibiting in several galleries in the late 1950s, he began to win recognition as an influential artist. His New York studio, The Factory, was also known as a gathering place for a celebrity crowd, featuring Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Salvador Dali, Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed and many more.
This gave him the perfect opportunity to observe celebrity culture and popular icons up close. In fact, it’s thought that Warhol actually coined the expression “15 minutes of fame.”
With this source of inspiration and long list of potential portrait subjects, Warhol developed the colourful pop art screen prints he became so famous for.
The birth of the selfie
Andy Warhol’s first self-portrait was produced in 1963 or 1964, when Warhol was 35 and on his way to becoming firmly established as an artist. Aptly titled ‘Self Portrait,’ it helped to fuel his meteoric rise to fame.
James Sevier, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Senior Specialist, explained: “This is a work of immense art historical importance that marks the watershed moment when Warhol joined the canon of the greatest self-portraitists.”
“Warhol really is the godfather of the whole social media era,” added Emma Baker, contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s. “Everybody is looking to create their own brand now. The selfie is so ubiquitous and it’s all about self-image. But Warhol really was at the forefront of this whole phenomenon.”
The artwork was sold in 2017 for $7.7 million, by a private collector who had owned the piece since 1985, and profited handsomely from an early investment in Warhol’s work.
Campbell’s soup canvases
Similarly, Los Angeles gallerist Irving Blum purchased Andy Warhol’s first exhibition of 32 Campbell’s soup canvases in 1962 for just £1,000. The exhibition was panned by attending art critics, but Blum’s choice to keep the series of work intact paid off handsomely, and he sold them to the Museum of Modern Art in 1996 for $15 million.
In both instances, the collector decided to invest in Andy Warhol art at the right time. Surely neither had ever predicted that these works would command such high prices in the future.
Why buy Andy Warhol art
It’s not a surprise then, that budding collectors often ask us how to invest in art that will enjoy the same incredible growth. Celebrity collectors of Andy Warhol are thought to include Gianni Versace, Tom Ford Sir Elton John, Damien Hirst and Jay Z, among others.
If you’re looking to buy Andy Warhol art as an investment asset, or simply for your own enjoyment, please pay a visit to Maddox Gallery, Mayfair. Our Sotheby’s-trained art consultants are on hand to talk with you further.