Lifestyle & Belief

Thousands of Andy Warhol paintings to hit the market


Nearly 20,000 paintings by Andy Warhol are about to flood the market.


Oli Scarff

The Warhol Foundation has partnered with Christie's Auction House to dump its entire collection of Warhol paintings. 

Nearly 20,000 paintings by the late artists will be auctioned off over the series of several live and online sales. The foundation said it would also donate several of Warhol's paintings. 

According to The New York Times, the sale of the paintings will likely take several years to complete. In total, the sale of the paintings is expected to generate about $100 million for the foundation, money that will be used to increase the foundation's endowment.

According to the LA Times, this will help escalate the foundation's grants to museums and other art nonprofits from the current $13.5 million a year to as much as $20 million.

Joel Wachs, the foundation's president, said in an interview, "It's become noticeable how hard [fundraising]has become, especially for smaller organizations."

A few of the pieces included in the sales will be one piece titled “Three Targets,” consisting of a large horizontal black-and-white canvas of paint and silk-screen depicting three targets with gunshots, according to the New York Daily News. That piece is expected to sell for $1 million to $1.5 million. Other pieces in the collection include a Jacqueline Kennedy collage from the 1960s, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000; and a “Self-Portrait in Fright Wig” from a ’70s Polaroid print.

Not everyone is excited about the release of the Warhol collection. Alberto Mugrabi, a New York dealer whose family owns at least 800 Warhols, told the Wall Street Journal that he believes this will greatly affect not only his collection, but the price of every available Warhol painting, as now they will be so widely available. Mugrabi said, "It's ridiculous—they have a great product, and they're pushing it out into the market like cattle."

But none of the pieces that will be auctioned are considered a Warhol masterpiece. "The most expensive ones have gone. I wish we had some of those," Wachs said.