The Scandal Over Andy Warhol’s Art Is Getting Louder By The Day


Even in death, the legacy of Andy Warhol continues to cause controversy. Hailed as a genius by some, but a master manipulator by others, his impact on the art world is still omnipresent. The recent controversy involving Andy Warhol revolves around the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which has been losing its footing amidst lawsuits and the recent announcement that it was planning to sell all the remaining Andy Warhol artworks.

The Warhol Foundation has even had to deal with a lawsuit from Lou Reed of The Velvet Underground band, regarding who owns the rights to the iconic album cover of a banana. The Warhol Foundation had been licensing the image to be used by such companies as Apple. True ownership and the authenticity of an art piece are always controversial, because authenticity is what drives up the value of a particular piece of art.

Curious Timing

The selling of all the artworks has curious timing, which coincides with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announcing that it would no longer authenticate Warhol prints, which it had offered as a service before.

On the surface, the Foundation gives the practical reason that they simply want to focus on giving grants, and selling off the remaining twenty thousand works will allow them to do this. But to many people it seems suspicious that the Warhol Foundation would be so willing to sell of its entire legacy. This has led to deeper investigation into what is really going on with the Foundation.

Critics Believe There Is A Darker Side

For example, critics of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts say that there is a darker side to the selling. Reportedly there have been an increasing amount of disputes over what is authentic Andy Warhol art.  Critics claim that after 1970, Andy Warhol simply had his works reproduced in studios that he never even stepped foot in. This means that many of the Andy Warhol works circulating today weren’t really originals.

This has been the cause of great controversy. Verifying what is an original Andy Warhol has become more convoluted, with lawsuits being brought. So it’s little wonder that the Warhol Foundation wants to stop being in the business of authenticating. It appears that the process of authenticating an artwork is becoming more fraught with potential lawsuits and controversy.

Andy Warhol Artwork Worth More Than Ever

However, currently original Andy Warhol artworks sell for greater amounts of money than ever. Warhol appears to be one of the most influential modern artists, and this is reflected in the revenue that can be gained from selling his artwork, numbering in the millions.

The Andy Warhol Foundation seems to want to sell the artwork while they can still fetch high prices, and not have to deal with the continuing questions about how much of their collection are truly original Warhols. Collectors who have found that they have fake Warhols are understandably upset, and that’s when lawsuits start taking place. Critics of the Warhol Foundation are saying that they want to make a profit while they can, before it’s proven that some of the artwork isn’t authentic.

Teresa Thomas is an art appraiser that specializes in antiques in the Los Angeles area for Hughes Estate Sales.

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