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Warhol’s Silkscreen Portfolios

Andy Warhol is arguably the most influential 20th century artist, with secondary market records for his paintings at over $105 million BP. While his works on canvas are mainstays at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, it is Warhol’s prints, or silkscreens, that showcase his iconic style and images. As an artist, Warhol, favored the technique as it allowed for mass-production and limitless manipulation. In 1967, Andy Warhol established Factory Additions, a print-publishing company that doubled as his studio. Beginning with Marilyn Monroe, Warhol produced successive screen print portfolios drawing influence from celebrity, consumerist culture, and art history. Notable series include the Ad Portfolio, depicting major brands from Chanel to Apple, and the Myth Portfolio, pulling characters from Dracula and Wizard of Oz to Uncle Sam and Superman.

For the Marilyn Monroe Portfolio, each image was printed from five screens: one that carried the photographic image and four for different areas of color, sometimes printed off-register. About repetitions Warhol said, “The more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel.” For Warhol mass-reproduction was intrinsic to his art, it questioned the value of the ‘original’ as each screen print was unique in its context and coloring.

     Undeniably Warhol has had a persistent impact on culture, society and of course the visual arts. Since his death in 1987 his market has held – strong and consistent – even as interest in other Pop icons like Tom Wesselmann and James Rosenquist has ebbed and flowed. Born Andrew Warhola, the artist’s mononymous moniker ‘Warhol’ is synonymous with Pop art – a movement that emerged out of the US and UK in the late 50’s. Secondary market sales and recent auctions have seen complete portfolios of signed prints realize upwards of $750,000 USD at auction with single signed Silkscreens reaching over $200,000 USD.

Opening on June 20th from 6-8pm, Life is Beautiful: Andy Warhol & Mr. Brainwash, includes a collection of Warhol unsigned Silkscreen prints that is uniquely diverse in its representation of 7 different Portfolios. Each work was printed by Rupert Jasen Smith, New York – the official printer listed in Andy Warhol Prints: Catalogue Raisonne 1962-1987. In addition to those pictured here, works include Chanel No. 5, Superman, Geronimo, Bald Eagle, The Star and more… Both a statement and investment piece, these works are priced at an amazing value and would make a notable addition for either a discerning collector or a first-time art buyer.

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