Sotheby’s gets set to flash the cash tonight, as the most important collection of rare & unseen Warhol “dollar” paintings go under the hammer
“Making money is art. And working is art. And good business is the best art” – Andy Warhol
A few weeks ago a private collection of works celebrating the power of money and the US dollar in Contemporary Art was unveiled to the public at Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery for the very first time. The museum-quality collection is made up of 21 works, considered to be the most important collection of Warhol “dollar” paintings in private hands. Tonight all 21 items head for auction expected to take in over £50 Million.
At the core of the group is Warhol’s very first painting One Silver Dollar Bill, 1962, estimated at £13-£18 million. Not only is this piece special because it was the first in the series of era-defining masterpieces of his dollar symbol works, but also the only one of Warhol’s dollars to have been painted entirely by hand. Alongside this, the collection features 6 additional Warhol pieces, including two of his earliest silk screen paintings.
Additional works come from Tim Noble and Sue Webster with the duo’s glitzy dollar sign $, 2001 (est. £100,000-150,000) , Keith Haring’s baked enamel on metal, money man Untitled, 1982 (est. £250,000-350,000) and other standout pieces like Scott Campbell’s Cloth Skull Cube, 2011 (est.£10,000- £15,000) made entirely of laser cut uncirculated US currency sheets.
“The collection of Warhol’s was put together with a unique focus and vision over 30 years, building a group of masterpieces that would be impossible to assemble today” said Cheyenne Westphal, Co-Head, Contemporary Art Worldwide.
Warhol’s legendary passion for money was no secret. He was the first artist to address the relationship between art and money, and quickly became obsessed. In terms of his dollar symbol work, the story goes that he was casting around for a muse to paint, when a friend suggested that he just paint whatever he liked best…his answer was money. It was soon after that, that his first Dollar Bill was painted, the same work up for auction tonight.
The collection entitled ‘To The Bearer on Demand’ will be offered as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction this evening. The prestigious auction has been poised to be the most valuable sale’s of it’s kind to ever be held in London! Among Warhol, pre-sale’s of all collections entered so far (including Francis Bacon’s famed ‘Pope’ masterpieces) have already been estimated to total £143.2m-204.6 million…. no sudden movements for the live event then!
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening
July 1st | 34-35 New Bond Street
Words by Tracy Kawalik
Photos by Tracy Kawalik