June 3, 2009

Sotheby's Gets A Turn At Adorable Warhols


Andy Warhol published a boardbook in 1983 through his Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger. It's a series of silkscreen paintings of toys and animals taken from vintage ads. We have some copies, and it's cool, but neither kid has shown particular interest in it.

The complete set of original paintings for the book was broken up and sold in 2004 for EUR384,000, but it seems Warhol made other versions and sizes of the same Toy Series images. A couple of Warhols so cute & tiny I could just gobble them up are coming up at Sotheby's in London this month.

Lot 220 [above]: Clockwork Panda Drummer (Toy Series), 1983 is 11x14 inches. It sold in Feb 2004 at Christie's for 35,000 GBP, which is probably where the current 30-40,000 GBP estimate comes from. [update: it sold for 73,250 pounds.]


Lot 218: Robot (Toy Series)
, 1983 is 8x10 inches, and also estimated at 30-40,000 pounds. Coincidentally, it also sold at Christie's in 2004 for 35,000 pounds, but in June. [update: it sold for 51,650 pounds, and Lot 219, a Moon Explorer from the Toy Series, which I missed, sold for 43,750.]

If I had to guess, I'd say a kid about the kid's age has just outgrown his Warhol nursery and is either upgrading to some big boy art--or his dad worked for Lehman in The City. Either way, an opportunity for the next expectant art collector with some liquidity left.

And while we're on the subject of adorable Warhols, I have to mention this big [40x40 in.] 1980 portrait of Las Vegas philanthropist--and president of the Neon Museum--Barbara Molasky and her young daughter Clari.


Warhol loved cranking out these Polaroid-based commissions, and 70's and 80's-era socialites loved buying them, so I have no idea how many there are. But Molasky's is the first one I've seen that includes a kid. If you don't think it's odd to buy someone else's portrait--of a kid. who's now 30. and is still presumably walking around somewhere while her mom rescues casino signs on The Strip--the estimate is 70-90,000 pounds. Good luck. [update: it sold for 133,500 pounds. The verdict overall: the Adorable Warhol market is, stable and liquid..]

June 26, 2009, London, Lot 221: PORTRAIT OF BARBARA AND CLARI MOLASKY [sothebys]
I Was Shot By Andy Warhol: The Baby in Warhol's Screen Test

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