BMA is near top in Warhol holdings DEVOTED TO WARHOL

May 15, 1994|By John Dorsey

It's Andy Warhol season. Aside from the opening of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh tomorrow, the Baltimore Museum of Art announced last week it has bought 18 Warhol works from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York, which has charge of the Warhol estate.

The museum's purchases -- 15 paintings and three drawings -- together with 15 other paintings the museum already holds, give the largest number of Warhol paintings of any museum except Pittsburgh's.

Of the 15 paintings already at the BMA, two are owned by the museum and 13 are on extended loan from the collection of Ileana and Michael Sonnabend. Mrs. Sonnabend, a New York art dealer, said she would like them to stay at the BMA permanently but can't make a decision now.

The Sonnabend works are from the artist's early career, including such 1960s series as "Campbell's Soup Cans," "Liz," "Disasters" and "Jackies." The museum purchases are later works. They include examples from the series "Ladies and Gentlemen" (1975), "Skulls" (1976), "Shadows" (1979), "Rorschachs" (1984) and a late "Self-Portrait" (1986). The three drawings are related to the painting "The Last Supper" (1986), which the BMA bought in 1989.

Brenda Richardson, BMA curator of modern painting and sculpture, said the museum bought late works because they are more affordable than earlier ones. The BMA refused to say what it paid, but the Warhol Foundation is selling the artist's works to museums at far below market prices to get them into the public domain. An art expert estimated the market value of the 18 Warhols at well over $1 million.

After the BMA's announcement, The Sun asked readers to call Sundial and register their opinions of Warhol -- whether they liked the late artist's work, didn't like it or didn't know who he was.

There were 108 responses; 67 people liked the work; 41 didn't; and none didn't know him.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.