Early Paintings By Andy Warhol Are Going To Auction For The First Time

Two particularly unexpected lots are going under the hammer in an upcoming New York sale of 20th century and contemporary art on November 15. As part of the sale, auction house Phillips will offer for the first time two early paintings by Andy Warhol, titled “Nosepicker I” and “Living Room” and dating from long before he became a figurehead of Pop Art.

The artworks in question were painted in 1948, while Andy Warhol was studying art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now known as Carnegie Mellon University). These paintings bear no resemblance to the brightly coloured, saturated and contrasting canvases for which the American artist became known. They are more reminiscent of the expressionist works of George Grosz or Willem de Kooning.

andy warhol early works auction first time
“Living Room” by Andy Warhol is one of two of his early works that are going to auction for the first time via a Phillips sale. (Image: Phillips Auctions)

Yet there is no doubt that these are genuine Warhol paintings. They are both attributed to “Andy Warhol” and not to “Andy Warhola,” the real surname of the American artist. In addition, “Living Room” has been featured in countless exhibitions, including the recent retrospective “Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.


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This is the first time that “Nosepicker I” and “Living Room” have appeared on the art market. They have remained in the artist’s family for more than seven decades. According to Phillips, they nearly vanished in the 1970s after the Warhola family car, in which they were stored, was stolen. “Fortunately for the family and for art enthusiasts across the globe, the car was recovered, with the artworks completely unscathed,” explains the auction house.

andy warhol early works auction first time
“Nosepicker I” by Andy Warhol is also going under the Phillips hammer for the first time. (Image: Phillips Auctions)

These two early works will go under the hammer on November 15 during Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York. “Nosepicker I” is estimated at $300,000 to $500,000, and “Living Room” at $250,000 to $450,000. This is a far cry from the $195 million that Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” fetched at Christie’s in New York in May. The sum even earned the famous portrait of the actress Marilyn Monroe the title of most expensive 20th century artwork ever sold at public auction.

However, bids could take off for “Nosepicker I” and “Living Room” given their “historical value,” as Robert Manley, deputy chairman and co-director of Phillips’s 20th century and contemporary art department, explains to The Art Newspaper. “‘Living Room’ has been compared by some to Vincent van Gogh’s ‘The Bedroom.’ With ‘Nosepicker I,’ you can certainly see the influence of masters like Jean Dubuffet [and] the effect of 20th-century titans who were working alongside Warhol, including Paul Klee,” he told the specialist website.

More details about the auction here.

This story was published via AFP Relaxnews

(All images: Phillips)