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  • Provenance

    Alexander Iolas, Athens
    Private collection, Europe

  • Catalogue Essay

    A leading force in American Pop Art, Andy Warhol, with his background in commercial exhibitionism and his controversial personality, is one of the most recognizable artists of all time. A trendsetter in the arts and a savant of pop culture, Warhol was fueled by the bustling value system of American commerce and commercialism. He used this to his advantage to fuel the hungry public. Symbols of a growing American economy and obsession with status were favorite themes of this iconic artist; consequently, he was provided with an unlimited wealth of material. But even through all of the glitz and glamour of the celebrity scene, Warhol was able to divine the ultimate status symbol and driving force of American culture: the dollar sign.

    Warhol’s time in advertising made him deeply cognizant of consumer culture and society’s monetary distraction . Using the world around him as his muse,
    Warhol recognized that “making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” (Andy Warhol quoted in The Philosophy of Andy
    Warhol, “From A to B and Back Again”, New York, 1975). Money wasn’t only an impetus in life, but an impetus in art as well. The Dollar-Bill paintings were
    one of Warhol’s most prolific series in his career, corroborating the notion that money is above all other American obsessions. “Andy Warhol’s Dollar Signs
    – a body of work consisting of drawing, prints, and paintings executed by the artist in 1981 – have more often than not been explained through Warhol’s
    alleged love of money. He expressed a deflected pleasure in the object of his passion by drawing or painting its most salient symbol, the way a lover derives
    a secondary gratification by pronouncing the beloved’s name.” (A. C. Danto, “Andy Warhol and the love of $$$$$”, Dollar Signs, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly
    Hills, 1997, p. 5). The Dollar Sign works of this period are today considered among Warhol’s most powerful and prolific images, once again reinventing
    propriety in artistic imagery; Warhol stated that “big-time art is big-time money” and, through this brutal truth, the symbol for money becomes the
    symbol of art. Andy Warhol will always be remembered for challenging traditional boundaries between art and life and art and business. By extolling
    the almighty dollar, a ubiquitous symbol of a consumer driven culture, Warhol has transformed everyday life into art and his art into everyday life.

  • Artist Biography

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    Known as the “King of Pop,” Andy Warhol was the leading face of the Pop Art movement in the United States 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 like Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities like 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 a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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34

Dollar Sign

circa 1981
synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas
20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Signed twice “Andy Warhol” along the overlap.

Estimate
$500,000 - 700,000 

Contemporary Art Part I

7 November 2011
New York