Warhol artworks stored 30 years to sell at auction Dec. 2
AMESBURY, Mass. – An attic find of original artworks which includes some by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat – literally unseen by anyone since being stored away more than 30 years ago – will see the light of day in an auction on Saturday, Dec. 2, by John McInnis Auctioneers. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Those who are familiar with Andy Warhol will recognize the name of Jon Gould as his closest companion in the 1980s. Gould was an art collector and many pieces he purchased and acquired were exhibited in Vermont a number of years ago and are not part of this sale. The items found here in the family home were hidden away and more personal in nature.
The artworks, plus other items relating to Warhol, Basquiat and other pop art luminaries of the era such as Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, were only recently unpacked now that the home is to be sold to settle the estate, as Harriett Gould died in December 2016. Jon, Harriett’s son, not only ran in the same circles as Warhol and Basquiat, he was a close friend and confidante of both artists.
Offered will be an intentionally broken stretched canvas abstraction-painting-turned-sculpture (above) by Warhol, signed “Jon / Andy Warhol ’83;” a copy of Warhol’s book Exposures, twice-signed by him; an aluminum sculpture by Warhol, signed to Jon; a stitched charcoal and wove paper, also signed to Gould; a photographic stitch collage by Warhol; and one of Warhol’s iconic Marilyn images (below).
Jon Gould died at age 33 on Sept. 18, 1986, six months prior to Warhol. Gould led a double life of sorts, one with Warhol in New York City and another in his work life in Los Angeles. He held a high-power corporate job as vice president at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. But in his other life, he was a major part of the ’80s New York pop art scene, where he cultivated an intimate relationship with Warhol and his circle.
It’s well documented that Warhol showered Gould with gifts during their time together, after first meeting toward the end of 1980. The items uncovered here bring to life the complex love and relationship they had for and with each other. The auction includes many of these items, which Gould kept at his homes in Manhattan and Beverly Hills. Upon Gould’s death, his mother packaged up virtually everything her son owned and shipped it all back to Amesbury. That is where these items sat, undisturbed, for many years.
“It’s a blessing in a way that Harriet Gould was, as Andy was, a collector, as anyone who enters her home would attest,” said Dan Meader, director at John McInnis Auctioneers, who was assigned the task of going through every box and wrapped object in the home and putting together the pieces to let the items tell the story of this unique companionship.
“Jon and Andy’s relationship was a complex one and by all accounts Andy was infatuated and in love with Jon, here for the first time we see a bit of the other side of the relationship,” Meader said. “In Andy’s prior relationships, he did not shower them with gifts. This love with Jon was a challenge like he never had. He acted much differently with him and presented him with many personal expressions of objects and art.”
Most of the first 130 objects in the more than 350-lot auction are gifts from Andy to Jon. These include artworks, books, photos, 15 or so Native American objects (baskets, beadwork and quillwork), several glass pieces (to include Lalique and Baccarat), a pair of carousel horses, Adirondack furniture, clothing and other items. Five lots in the auction are relating to Basquiat.
Perhaps no other item in the sale expresses the complexity of Warhol and Gould’s relationship than the synthetic polymer on stretched canvas painting that Warhol intentionally fashioned, a painting/sculpture. Titled Abstraction – A Gift to Jon Gould, the 16 inch by 25 inch work is emotional and thought-provoking. To understand the reality of expression in Andy’s work, the lot includes several copies of poems, previously unseen, that Jon penned to Andy. Nothing could be more familiar to an artist such as Andy, as a stretched canvas. Andy broke the stretchers, forming it into a shape, then painted it. A tragedy of sorts, this moving piece seems to symbolize what was going on in their relationship and evokes much thought.
That is the expected top lot of the sale, with an estimate of $500,000-$1 million, but not all the items are pricey. The copy of Exposures (Grossett & Dunlap, N.Y., 1979), for example, signed once on the dust jacket (“To John / Andy”) and once on the title page, rather cryptically (“To Jon, Without Love – Love, Andy Pandy”), carries a reasonable estimate of $150-$300.
The synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on aluminum sheeting sculpture by Warhol, borrowing a front page from the New York Post and titled Marine Death Toll Hits 172, signed “Jon / Andy Warhol ‘83”, should bring $40,000-$60,000.
A charcoal on wove and color-coated, stitched paper titled Body Builder, signed and inscribed “Jon 82” and originally meant as a triptych, measuring 16 inches by 23 ½ inches, has an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.
The photographic collage of nine uniquely stitched gelatin silver prints, housed in a 38 inch by 31 ½ inch frame and with the lowest image embossed “Andy Warhol”, comes with a 1982 mint julep cup given to Jon and Andy by Gov. John Brown of Kentucky, along with two tickets to the Kentucky Derby, relating to the stitched photo. The piece has an estimate of $10,000-$20,000.
Perhaps no other image is as closely linked with Warhol’s body of work as his iconic Marilyn portrait, which is often repeated and can command dizzying dollars at auction. In this sale, an invitation to the Factory Editions event, “Andy Warhol, A Print Retrospective, 1963-1981,” which ran from Nov. 21-Dec. 22, 1981 in New York, showing one image of Marilyn, 1967 on the front and measuring 12 inches by 12 inches, signed “Jon / Andy,” is expected to hit $5,000-$10,000.
A birthday card collage, with folded, cut and arranged children’s birthday greeting cards, signed “Jon….love Andy Warhol” and measuring 14 inches by 11 ¼ inches in a period Plexiglas frame, should also command $5,000-$10,000.
Other artists’ names in the auction, besides Warhol, will include photographer Christopher Makos, Roy Lichtenstein, Antonio Lopez, Marcel Duchamp, Peter H. Beard, James Mac, Oliver Sanchez, Salvador Dali and Thomas Mails.While the Warhol items, and the relationship between the artist and Jon Gould, will dominate the auction, attention should also be given to the five lots pertaining to Jean-Michel Basquiat, who, like Gould, died young (at age 27, from a drug overdose, in 1988), especially since he holds the current record for an artwork by an American artist at auction, at $110.5 million.
Being sold are gifts to Gould from Basquiat, a pair of untitled, 9-inch-tall painted vases by Basquiat (below), signed “J.B.” under the base and each estimated at $40,000-$80,000; and a circa-1983 leather jacket with an image of Basquiat’s face inside a Jack of Hearts playing card on the back, signed “Rags” and believed to have been done by Michael J. Raglin, who was in the circle of Warhol (est. $10,000-$20,000).
For details contact John McInnis Auctioneers at 978-388-0400 or email email@example.com.