Warhol’s Art-School Works Head to Auction

Multiple sources report that the family of Andy Warhol is planning to bring to sale a group of ten paintings the artist made between 1945 and 1949 while studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in his native Pittsburgh. Among the works are abstractions, which the artist would soon abandon, and Nosepicker 1, 1948, thought to be Warhol’s first self-portrait. The works, which Warhol left at his parents’ house when he moved out of Pittsburgh in 1949, are mainly tempera on board, with the exception of the watercolor-on-paper Living Room, 1947, and the oil-on-board l Like Dance of the same year.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which broke the story, a number of the works have been previously displayed at the Andy Warhol Museum, in the artist’s hometown, and in the traveling exhibition “Andy Warhol: Lifetimes,” which closed this past spring at the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado. All of the works can be viewed on the website The Andy Warhol Family Album.

Artnews reports that the sale is being organized by the artist’s nephew James Warhola, an illustrator, who is representing six siblings in the matter. All are the children of Warhol’s brother Paul Warhola and his wife Anne, both of whom are deceased. Their relatively recent deaths led to the siblings’ decision to sell the works, James Warhola told the Tribune-Review. “It’s not something we’ve wanted to do,” he explained, “but it’s the only way you divvy up an estate, and there’s a whole bunch of us who could use a few extra dollars.”

Speaking to Artnet News, Warhol expert Richard Polsky said he expected all the works to bring good prices but singled out Nosepicker 1 as “the real prize,” noting, “Even though it’s not considered part of his mature work, it’s a historically significant indicator of his future fascination with painting his own likeness.”


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