Andy Warhol - Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Saturday, June 1, 2024 | Phillips

    “I like money on the wall. Say you were going to buy… a painting. I think you should take that money, tie it up, and hang it on the wall. Then when someone visited you, the first thing they would see is the money on the wall.”
    Andy Warhol


    Executed at the height of Andy Warhol’s pivotal career, Dollar Sign is an instantly recognisable work by the artist, hailing from his iconic and eponymous series. Drawing from Warhol’s lifelong fascination with commodity culture, the present work encapsulates the inextricable relationship between art and wealth through his implementation of the ubiquitous ‘$’ motif. Warhol’s earlier painting series such as Coca Cola and Campbell’s Soup confronted the dichotomy between high and low art, which ultimately came to define his significant oeuvre. In the present work, the artist takes the same approach by borrowing recognisable images, whereby reinventing the dollar symbol and amplifying it as Pop Art. The present iteration focuses even tighter on the essence of consumerism, utilising the dollar sign motif as a symbol of cash and the American Dream. This directly subverts the general assumption of the bourgeois and the academic that art is above money. Indeed, in an ironically Warholian way, the Dollar Sign canvas symbolically reflects the artist’s accomplishment as it has become an icon of popular culture itself and thus, a currency in its own right.


    Layers of saturated colour pulsate through Dollar Sign with the off-set multiple impressions and silhouette of the ‘$’. The printed screen of forest-green creates a striking contrast against the black painted background and a final layer of blazing red is superimposed in a more scribbled format, drawing a direct link to Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup works which too, are powerful in their bold reinvention of what is considered as acceptable in art. Although intricate in size, the enlarged symbol permeates the entire surface of the canvas, signifying the immense power of wealth. Conjuring a sense of three-dimensional depth, these layers are rendered with the immaculate clarity of the artist’s refined silkscreen technique.


    Dollar Sign Series


    In the early 1960s, Warhol began experimenting with his money-oriented iconography, creating silkscreen paintings of the one-dollar bill drawings that he had photographed. The process of photographing and reprinting this motif directly onto his canvases allowed Warhol to achieve the manufacturing techniques of the Pop Art movement, which were typically associated with commercial printing. Through this approach, the artist mimicked the repetitive and standardised nature of consumer goods, blurring the lines between art and mass culture. Simultaneously, the dollar sign also acts as a symbol that fundamentally channels the idea of repetition and mechanization. Through the employment of this motif in Warhol’s works, the artist further highlighted his investment in industrial production.



    Andy Warhol, Printed Dollar Bill #3, 1962
    Collection of the Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey
    © 2024 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


    Warhol returned to creating his Dollar Sign works in the 1980s – a period that resonated deeply with the cultural zeitgeist and reflected the growing prominence of finance and materialism in the society. The works from this series were first exhibited in the artist’s solo exhibition at the Castelli Gallery in New York in February 1982. A month after the show, Artforum published an issue focused on artists who had ‘made it’, featuring a centrefold by Warhol whose contribution was a fold-out triptych of Dollar Sign works. 




    Installation view, New York, Leo Castelli, Andy Warhol: Dollar Signs, 1982
    Courtesy of Castelli Gallery, New York. Artwork: © 2024 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


    Collector’s Digest


    • Born 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol was widely renowned as the leading exponent of the Pop Art movement in the 1960s. The artist grew up in a poor environment, which explained his complicated relationship with fame and wealth. Despite these circumstances, he had developed his own understanding of these concepts, hence developing the ultimate Warholian dialect between art and commerce, wealth and the consumer culture.

    • Coinciding with Hong Kong Art Month this year, Gagosian held an exhibition for the artist titled Andy Warhol’s Long Shadow. The show is currently on view until 11 May 2024 in Hong Kong and features the artist’s key paintings, photographs and films throughout his prolific career. Amongst these works is a large-scale Dollar Sign painting, executed during the same year as the present work in 1981. This elevates the cultural relevance of this particular series and demonstrates a strong demand for Warhol’s Dollar Sign paintings.

    • Warhol’s works are held in the important collections of the Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille; Tate Modern, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, amongst others.

    • The artist has also been the subject of major international exhibitions including retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1989) and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2002). His recent blockbuster shows include, Andy Warhol: Revelation, Brooklyn Museum, New York (2022); Andy Warhol, Tate Modern, London (2020); and From A to B and Back Again at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018-19).

    • Provenance

      Gifted by the artist to the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Andy Warhol

      American • 1928 - 1987

      Andy Warhol was the leading exponent of the Pop Art movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects, such as Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

      Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably also a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


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Dollar Sign

signed and dated ‘81 Andy Warhol’ on the overlap
acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
25.3 x 20.3 cm. (9 7/8 x 7 7/8 in.)
Executed in 1981.

Full Cataloguing

HK$2,800,000 - 3,800,000 

Sold for HK$3,048,000

Contact Specialist

Anastasia Salnikoff
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2014

Modern & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 1 June 2024