Artist Andy Warhol's collection up for sale

Date: Sep 07, 2012

The estate of famed artist Andy Warhol is being put up for auction with an estimated 20,000 works of art set to go under the hammer, which are expected to fetch at least $US100 million.

In his estate planning, Andy Warhol donated most of his possessions to his art foundation to fund art programs. With the new injection of cash, added to the large sum of $225 million the foundation already has, the operation can be focused on philanthropy rather than insuring and storing artworks.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has enlisted Christies auctioning house to handle the sale as the foundation apparently doesn't want to sell off items piece by piece, as it had been doing previously.

The sale includes silk screen paintings, drawings, prints, collages, photographs and archival materials.

A New York art dealer Albert Mugrabi, has criticised the auction however, telling the Wall Street Journal that this mass sale could lessen the significance of Warhol's work and dilute the value.

"It's ridiculous - they have a great product, and they're pushing it out into the market like cattle," he said.

Some of Warhol's most famous works include the painting of a can of soup, entitled 'Campbell's Soup 1' and 'The Scream (After Munch)'.The director of licensing at the Andy Warhol museum, Michael Hermann told CNN that half the reason why Warhol is so successful is that he could paint things that people had seen before in a completely new way.

"However, it seems his influence today comes as much from his biography as someone who embodied the American dream and celebrated creativity and individuality," said Hermann.

In celebration of his works and the 50-year anniversary of his art piece '32 Campbell's Soup Cans', the Campbell's soup company has released 1.2 million limited-edition cans. Seen on the cans is Warhol's picture and sayings that he sprouted, such as "pop art is for everyone" and "blur the boundaries between high and low culture".

The art industry is perhaps notorious for forgeries, but as these pieces are coming directly from the foundation which Warhol established, fakes are obviously not possible - this could help market confidence and perhaps increase bidding.

Christies has announced that this sale will be held for online bidders as well as physically present ones. This comes after they held an auction involving wines in an online format. The success of that sale prompted the famous auction house to try the format with a house name artist such as Andy Warhol.