Hang it on your Warhol for just $18m – or rather, don’t


Hang it on your Warhol for just $18m – or rather, don’t

Appetite is cooling towards the former bellwether of pop art, making ‘Big Electric Chair' not such a snip

Colin Gleadell

Last week’s contemporary art sales in New York are remarkable for many things, not least of which is the more subdued role played by the pop artist Andy Warhol. Until about 2014, Warhol was considered the bellwether of the contemporary market – so long as appetite for his work rolled on, all else would follow in its wake. 

In 2011, a series of contemporary art sales in New York included 65 works by Warhol estimated at $135m. This week, in spite of the inclusion of a dozen examples from his famous Athletes series (1977-79), that number is down to 38, with an estimated value of $39.5m. 

The highest value, of $18m, is attached to his Big Electric Chair (1967) painting – a rather unappetising subject that only Warhol could make appealing to collectors.  It is being sold by the Israeli billionaire and number one Warhol collector and art speculator, Jose Mugrabi, who bought it in 2014 for $18.1m...

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