Monday, September 10, 2012

Warhol on Sale

My old boss Manny at the Diamond Exchange loved showing diamonds. I loved even more saying, "It's one of a kind, how many do you want?" His son Richie Boy and I groaned at this utterance, however more times than not the octogenarian would complete the sale. The old man had a good spiel and his son would shrug with acceptance, "After sixty-five years in the business Manny knows his shit." Mostly because Manny has stayed with what he knows best. Richie Boy and I have tried our hands at Art over the last couple of years. Our art dealer friends figure we are friends with rich diamond buyers and that selling art can't be too different from selling gems. Our learning curve has proven them wrong and last week a contemporary art dealer called from Paris. "I have a lovely Jackie O Warhol for sale." He wanted two million for the red-backed image of Jackie watching the JFK funeral procession. "The best price for that type of Warhol is $2.7 and that was at the height of the market." ArtNet was a neophyte's best friend in finding sale prices of paintings. "This is one of a kind." "My friend has two of them. Different colors. But I'll see what I can do." I hung up the phone and made a few calls. The best offer was for $750,000 from an LA dealer. He had three of these paintings. I got back to the Paris dealer and gave him the price. That was the last that I heard from him, but last week the Warhol Foundation announced that it had authorized Christies Auction House to sell the remainder. One New York dealer had offered to buy the entire estate to protect their investment in Warhols. The directors refused his bid in anticipation of a boost from an upcoming Warhol retrospective at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The estate's auction will occur in early November. Most experts feel this sale will be the clearing out of the closets; mostly photos, lesser-known silk screens, and artifacts from the artist. They are all one of the kind. Even those that are three or four of a kind. Any questions? Ask Manny. He Knows.

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