Andy's Unemployment Rate goes on sale online

Christie's publishes details of their forthcoming online-only Warhol Estate sale, running Feb 26 - March 5
U.S. Unemployment Rate (1984) by Andy Warhol
U.S. Unemployment Rate (1984) by Andy Warhol


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There's been much discussion about what the late, great Andy Warhol would have made of the internet age. Certainly, his 1968 aphorism, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” seems to have been borne out in kookier regions of the social networking community.

You could, conversely, argue that he wouldn't have made very much of it, given his age. Had the formidable pop artist lived to see the online era, he would have been 69 years old when Google.com was first registered, and 74 years of age when Facebook launched.

Nevertheless, Andy fully inhabits one small region of the net next month, when Christie's launches the first of the online-only sales of original works by the artist from the Warhol Foundation’s collection. As the auction house explains, the week-long sale, February 26 – March 5, is the first time it has ever offered online-only Post War and Contemporary art sales.

Though the pieces offered haven't the kind of notoriety or “wall power” of the major pieces offered for sale last autumn, prices are suitably accessible. A Warhol-produced Campbells soup can from 1964 is among the pricer lots, with an estimate of $50,000 - $70,000, while a series of cat sketches are expected to go for less than $1,000 each.

There are the usual screen prints and cookie-jar Polaroids in there too, though we were particularly taken with this hand-painted graph. US Unemployment Rate dates from 1984, carries an estimate of £20,000 - $30,000, and is, to our eye, proof that Warhol's appreciation of the hopes and fears of the American public never dulled. Is it a Reaganomics Death and Disaster painting, just as chilling as a tower-block suicide or an electric chair? Perhaps not, but we like it, nevertheless.

You can browse the entire online catalogue here, find out more about Warhol's works in our magisterial, multi-volume Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, and perhaps even decide whether or not to lodge a bid sometime in the future, by reading our forthcoming work, Collecting Art for Love, Money and More.


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