Auctions Market USA

Christie’s Education gets in on the Warhol game

A six-week course will teach the business of selling Andy’s work online

Andy Warhol, Sitting Bull (F. & S. IIIA.70), executed in 1986. Photo: © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc

Christie’s Education in New York has launched a six-week course for Warhol enthusiasts, “Andy Warhol and the Business of Art”. For $800 each, 20 to 25 students can examine works from the Warhol Foundation in Christie’s inventory up close, attend a private tour of the Museum of Modern Art’s Pop art collection and study Warhol’s screen-printing techniques at the Lower East Side print shop.

According to the course description: “Participants will follow the work of Christie’s specialists as they prepare works for auction as part of the Andy Warhol @ Christie’s online sales.” The class was conceived as a creative way to capitalise on the large number of Warhol works in the auction house’s inventory as well as a response to the art world’s growing interest in online sales, says the instructor Julie Reiss, an associate professor at Christie’s Education.

Last year, Christie’s signed a deal with the Andy Warhol Foundation to sell off its entire collection of works by the artist, including thousands of screen prints and Polaroids. After an initial live auction, Christie’s has been holding online sales every few months. Amelia Manderscheid, an associate specialist for eCommerce, who has been working closely with the Warhol Foundation, will walk students through the process of producing an online sale. “We’ll be talking about some of the challenges of working on an online platform, like communicating scale, and how we try to get around them,” Reiss says.

Students of the six-week, evening course, which runs from 8 October to 12 November, will not receive a certificate as they do in more intensive programmes, such as art business. The course is also unlikely to go into detail about the Warhol authentication process, which has become murky since the foundation dissolved its official authentication board in October 2011. “I don’t know specifically if they will do that—if people have questions, the specialists can answer them,” Reiss says.

On the other side of the globe, rival auction house Sotheby’s is planning its own sale of Warhol’s work. On 12 September, the auction house’s private gallery S2 opens “From Warhol, With Love”, a selling exhibition of works on paper, in Hong Kong (until 24 September). Not to be outdone, Christie's is also organising an exhibition of Warhol works in Shanghai featuring 45 prints, photographs and other objects from the Warhol Foundation collection (24-26 September).

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