artnet Auctions: Why You Should Snap Up Andy Warhol’s Rare Large-Scale Society Photos

This rare, signed portfolio depicts the cultural icons of the 70s and 80s.

Andy Warhol Photographs (portfolio of 12) (1980). Photo: artnet Auctions.

Andy Warhol’s photographs depict his legendary milieu of “superstars” and society figures, and it’s no surprise—after all, as the ringmaster of New York’s downtown scene of the late 1970s and 80s, he turned everyone around him into the cast of his very own reality show. Rubbing shoulders with the great and the good of that era, Warhol also captured guest appearances by a numerous celebrities and cultural figures of the time, from sports icons to political heavyweights. The photographs capture a carefree, festive era in high society, when life was an endless party.

Today, artnet Auctions is proud to offer a fantastic portfolio of 12 photographic prints by Andy Warhol, which promise to bring the guest list of one of his fabled Factory parties into a lucky collector’s home.



Andy Warhol’s Photographs (portfolio of 12) (1980)
Estimate $100,000—$150,000
Auction Ends: June 29, 2017



Not only do Warhol’s photographs deliver an exciting and unfiltered insight into the downtime of cultural icons from one of the most fruitful artistic periods in recent history, they also peel back and analyze the themes of pop, celebrity, and excess that fascinated and preoccupied Warhol for his entire career, and thus present an unparalleled understanding of the artist’s inimitable mindset.

This portfolio, a rare example of large-scale photographs by Warhol, the images feature snaps of luminaries as diverse as Pope John Paul II, Henry Kissinger (embracing Elizabeth Taylor), Jacqueline Onassis, and cultural scions such as Truman Capote, Salvador Dalí, and Tennessee Williams, as well as candid shots of Bianca Jagger shaving and Liza Minelli lying on the floor.

The pictures also have a fascinating provenance, coming from the collection of the renowned New York society photographer Patrick McMullan, whose unique appreciation of the craft underscores the significance and quality of the images in this portfolio.



“The portfolio was published by Galerie Bruno Bischofberger in Switzerland in 1980 in an edition of 250, and rarely comes up at auction,” says artnet Auctions specialist Susanna Wenniger. “Typically the Warhol photographs that come up at auction are 8” X 10” prints that are not signed, but are only authenticated by the foundation. The prints in this portfolio are each 16” x 20” prints signed on the verso by Warhol, which is unusual for his photographs. Additionally, Warhol photographs in this past spring auction sales have been extremely strong.”



Data from artnet’s Price Database shows that while a large number of Warhol’s photographs come to market, only few sell—and when they do sell they sell for high prices. This reflects the scarcity of rare, high-quality examples of his photographic work and a collector base that knows the difference.


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