LONDON - Acquired over the course of three decades with an acutely discerning eye, this extraordinary private collection presents the most comprehensive assemblage of Andy Warhol’s dollar paintings in existence. Surpassing the scope of any museum collection of Warhol’s dollar-themed work, To the Bearer on Demand includes his only hand-painted depiction of the dollar; two rare, early screen-printed dollar bill works from 1962–63; and major paintings from the artist’s 1980s reprisal of the theme. As such, this collection is a unique opportunity to chart the career of an artist for whom the American dollar represented an aspirational obsession.
WARHOL IN HIS NEW YORK STUDIO WITH 200 ONE DOLLAR BILLS, APRIL 1962 (DETAIL).
ALFRED STATLER, ANDY WARHOL IN HIS STUDIO AT 1342 LEXINGTON AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY, APRIL 1962 © 2015 THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM, PITTSBURGH. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
As in the case of his Campbell’s soup can paintings and portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Warhol was drawn to the dollar because of its near-universal recognisability. “American money is very well-designed, really,” Warhol once said. “I like it better than any other kind of money. I’ve thrown it in the East River down by the Staten Island Ferry just to see it float.” InFront and Back Dollar Bills (1962), the bills are multiplied 40 times in each 210 centimetre-high panel, creating a sense of infinite continuity. The repetition of the dollars and the juxtaposition of the front and back accentuate the minute variations and printing inconsistencies inherent to the silkscreen process – chance effects that Warhol actively sought to exploit.
ANDY WARHOL’S FRONT AND BACK DOLLAR BILLS FROM 1962–63
(ESTIMATE £12,000,000–18,000,000). CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING SALE,
SOTHEBY'S LONDON, 1 JULY 2015. © 2015 THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION
FOR THE VISUAL ARTS, INC. / ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK.
Aside from the Warholian core of the collection, works by such major contemporary artists as Joseph Beuys, Keith Haring, Arman, Tim Noble and Sue Webster further communicate the archetypal power of the US dollar as one of the most widely recognised and potent symbols in the world today. Perhaps more than any other currency, the dollar transcends its monetary value; it is an American icon and symbolic shorthand for American culture.
(LEFT) ANDY WARHOL, DOLLAR SIGN, 1981. ESTIMATE £200,000–300,000. (CENTRE) ANDY WARHOL, DOLLAR SIGN, 1981. ESTIMATE £200,000–300,000. (RIGHT) ANDY WARHOL, DOLLAR SIGN, 1982. ESTIMATE £200,000–300,000.
To the Bearer on Demand will be on view in London from 19–24 June and 27 June–1 July. Auction: 1 July.
Enquiries: +44 (0)20 7293 5401.