The King of Pop Art, Andy Warhol, continues to dominate the art market after the first round of Q1 2023 March auctions. Warhol’s work remains highly collectable and recession resistant. He revolutionised the art world by transforming banal commercial objects into classified commodities, ultimately becoming a lucrative brand himself. An incredibly active artist throughout his lifetime, Warhol produced over 9,000 paintings and sculptures and nearly 12,000 drawings, according to the Andy Warhol Foundation. As a result, the Warhol art market remains highly liquid as collectors and investors rush to buy his works, as assets that increase in value.
Discover more about Warhol's most current print market performance in our Andy Warhol Investment Guide.
According to ArtPrice’s Art Market report, Warhol is positioned number one out of five hundred artists for fine art auction turnover 2022, producing £410 million in sales value. Of that amount, the prolific sale of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964), the most expensive contemporary single artwork ever sold at auction, accounted for nearly 40% of the total sales value and drove the potential investment yield for any collector that owns a Warhol artwork.
Warhol’s auction market has seen an upward trajectory in sales value for the past three years, climbing nearly 200% from 2020 and almost 100% from 2021. Our Ultimate Print Market Report reported that the print market for Pop Art has mirrored the painting market as the demand and value for editioned prints are increasing.
MyArtBroker is closely watching Warhol’s Q1 2023 market and exploring how the King of Pop effortlessly retains his leading positions and rankings. Warhol infamously said: “In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”. Conflictingly, Warhol's work and legacy are the opposite of ephemeral.
Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary evening sale launched Warhol’s Q1 2023 market, offering one of his most acclaimed celebrity portraits, Debbie Harry (1980), an acrylic silkscreen on canvas depicting the 1970s American singer-songwriter of the rock band Blondie.
Warhol created only four portraits of Harry in various colours, two of which are held in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. This pink rendition demonstrates Warhol’s overshadowed skill as a colourist. He contrasts the vibrant blue of Harry’s eyes against her bubblegum pink hair and accentuates her soft purple eyeshadow and crimson red lips. This sale marks a first-time auction appearance for the work and sold for nearly £6.59 million (price realised).
Christie’s evening sales also contributed to Warhol’s Q1 success, offering Little Electric Chair (1964) from The Adam Lindemann collection, which sold for £3.7 million (price realised). These two top-tiered works account for a combined total of £10.3 million, a significant 54% of Warhol’s current Q1 2023 sales value. Individual blue-chip artworks impact artists’ total market value drastically, and we can expect to see this percentage increase as the auction year continues and other high-end works surface.
The prints and multiples sector also account for a crucial percentage of overall market value, currently accounting for 44% of Warhol’s Q1 2023 performance. Our 5-Year Print Market Review reported that Warhol’s print market value demonstrates a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% over the last five years. Indeed, the quality and volume of works drive the overall sales value and the increasing number of young collectors looking to build their collections and acquire more affordable pieces, as revealed in the 2021 edition of The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report. Warhol’s ability to transform recognisable imagery into culturally significant objects provides an agency that resonates with experienced and young collectors, proving why his market continues to make headlines and dominate the art market.
Warhol’s Q1 2023 Prints & Multiples auction sales offered various screenprints and editions from Warhol’s Jagger series (1975), comprising ten prints of Rolling Stones frontman and sex symbol Mick Jagger. To date, four of Warhol’s Jagger screenprints have surfaced within the secondary market, bringing in a combined total of £441,463 (price realised) against a combined hammer ratio of .29, meaning that the combined sales total falls 29% above the average presale estimates for these works.
MyArBroker has exclusive access to Warhol’s Jagger screenprints and shows that the average annual growth rate (AAGR) is increasing, anywhere from 27%-60%, depending on the print. Get in touch for more information or a consultation.
Other celebrity portraits across Warhol’s prints and multiple sales include three 1967 Marilyn screenprints, totalling £919,399 (price realised). Queen Elizabeth screenprints are also sought after, as three sold for just over £700,000 (price realised). Considering Queen Elizabeth II's remarkable legacy and the inevitable passing of her reign, we can expect to see the popularity and demand for these prints increase. Also, the Campbell’s soup cans continue to prove their international timelessness as six screenprints sold, two from Tokyo auctions, bringing in a combined turnover of £226,000+ (price realised). A complete set of Campbell’s soup cans sold for £1.5 million (price realised). MyArtBroker’s 5-Year Print Market review details how Warhol’s complete sets are a foreseeable trend driving market performance gains and that the sales value for complete sets grew 175% between 2020 and 2021.
The art market is notoriously opaque, and predicting trends is always challenging. However, MyArtBroker is working towards greater transparency within the market and identifying what factors are responsible for driving prices.
In March of 2022, Netflix released The Andy Warhol Diaries, a one-season documentary that follows the artist’s documentation of his life and feelings after being wounded by a gunshot in 1986. While still acknowledging his boundless successes, the documentary cast an obscure light on Warhol as an individual. The release date of this documentary fortuitously aligned with Christie’s sale of Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964), which, as mentioned previously, resulted in groundbreaking records for the art market and contemporary artworks. As this work exudes top-tier quality attributed to its selling price, it is undeniable that contemporary culture, including documentaries, strongly influences buying trends and commodity markets.
Likewise, a global topic becoming more openly discussed and urgently acknowledged is the impact of climate change. MyArtBroker is closely watching the performance of Warhol’s Endangered Species series (1983) and the recent circulation of several within the secondary market. Three of Warhol’s Endangered Species works were offered in Warhol’s Q1 2023 compared to the five offered throughout 2022. In 2022, the art market witnessed more collectors buying for a purpose as more works are being consigned with proceeds benefiting charitable projects. Now, more than ever, Warhol’s Endangered Species series feels especially relevant as the ten works, all featuring a different animal which was then on the brink of extinction, were produced and commissioned as a special project acknowledging climate conservation.
Warhol and the icons within his artworks are just as much reflections of contemporary culture as is what sells within the art market. MyArtBroker is watching Warhol’s market closely throughout 2023 and expects to see significant numbers within the above-mentioned highly-acclaimed series.
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