This Just In! I Sold Andy Warhol. (too soon), by Richard Polsky

I Sold Andy Warhol (too soon), by Richard PolskyWhat’s It About? (from the book jacket) In early 2005, Richard Polsky decided to put his much-loved, hard-won Warhol Fright Wig, up for auction at Christie’s. The market for contemporary art was robust and he was hoping to turn a profit. His instinct seemed to be on target: his picture sold for $375,000. But if only Polsky had waited . . . Over the next two years, prices soared to unimaginable heights with multimillion-dollar deals that became the norm and not the exception. Buyers and sellers were baffled, art dealers were bypassed for auction houses, and benchmark prices proved that trees really do grow to the sky. Had the market lost all reason?

In I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon), Polsky leads the way through this explosive, short-lived period when the “art world” became the “art market.” He delves into the behind-the-scenes politics of auctions, the shift in power away from galleries, and the search for affordable art in a rich man’s playing field. Unlike most in the art world, Polsky is not afraid to tell it like it is as he negotiates deals for clients in New York, London, and San Francisco and seeks out a replacement for his lost Fright Wig in a market that has galloped beyond his means. A compelling backdoor tell-all about the strange and fickle world of art collecting, I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon) takes an unvarnished look at how the industry shifted from art appreciation to monetary appreciation.

Why This? I was too young to understand much about Andy Warhol when he was alive.  All I knew is that he was the guy with the funny hair that I would see all over the news, standing in front of soup cans or something else that just didn’t seem to be like any of the art that I had ever been encouraged to make in school. It was probably closer to the stick figures that I was able to carve out, because I was hardly the artist in the family.  I come by that honestly- I don’t think anyone else in my family has that talent either.  It also always seemed as if Andy Warhol were in trouble for something or another, but I could just be making that up.  The ’80’s were a long time ago now, but  I think he may  have been a controversial figure.

The art market- what’s considered art and the prices which people will pay for that art have always boggled my mind, and it still does. A couple of years ago I went to a Prince exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.  After figuring out that Prince the musician didn’t have a side job taking pictures of Marlboro Man ads and exhibiting them in world famous art galleries,  a friend and I debated the meaning and the merit of Richard Prince photographing ads and presenting them as art (the whole museum was devoted to the American Cowboy as Marlboro Man).

I sympathize with what happened to Richard Polsky (at least from what I read on the jacket) because I hate buying something and then seeing it for less a month later, so I can only imagine how he felt.  But I am very interested in the story that he has to tell and the light that he can shed on the mysteries of the art world.  I think I’ll learn some good stuff and you know I’m all about that!

Do you dig art?  Do you consider photographs of photographs art?  Have you ever seen those canvasses full of seemingly random dots of color and wondered if you too could be an artist? Just curious.  I have come to understand and appreciate abstract and modern art a little more but I don’t think it will ever be my favorite.  And because I have said that I already feel myself liking it more.  I am so contrary!

You may also like


  1. I love art! I never used to, and then one day about ten years ago, I suddenly picked up a pen and a notebook made up of blank paper, and I drew my kids playing Nintendo. I remember trying to draw as a kid but never being able to, except with the Ed Emberley books. So I was thrilled, and from there I started exploring all sorts of artsy stuff. I love the vibrancy of abstract art. Even though what I do best is drawing portraits in charcoal, I find that doing something abstract is pure play, and a lot of fun.
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..Fitness Challenge: My First Tiny Progress Report =-.

    1. I have some of my own “art” up on the wall. A friend and I took a class together and I started out drawing stick figures. So when by the end of the class I had created something recognizable, I framed it.o

    1. I think he may have been my first introduction to modern art. I was very confused. At that age I didn’t understand why a drawing of Campbell’s soup can was considered art.

  2. My copy of this book just arrived and I can’t wait to read it.

    When I was about nine or ten, I started drawing…mainly because I was a competitive child and my sister always bragged about how she could draw these female models and I wanted to prove my our mother (and everyone else) that I could do it better. Eventually, I did become better at drawing those models, but I also discovered that I loved the creative process. Art became my release and I spent many hours drawing, coloring, and painting. It became one of my escapes.

    In terms of fine art, I’ve always found it interesting. When it comes to painting/sculpture, I prefer Baroque and Romanticism and splashes of Surrealism and Egyptian, but never truly got into abstract or pop art, so wasn’t a huge fan of Andy Warhol. (I’m anxious to read the book more to learn about the art world and Polsky’s experience with it.)

    That said, I try not to limit myself too much and am always open to seeing things in a new way, whether it’s how an advertisement is viewed from the lens of someone else or an ancient civilization’s view of the inner workings of the universe.
    .-= Ann-Kat (Today, I Read…)´s last blog ..Non-Flaky Internet and More Good News =-.

    1. I am looking forward to getting more understanding out of the book as well. I like looking at art and speculating about what it could mean, but beyond that I don’t know very much. I didn’t take an history class or anything in college. Oddly enough I love to collect art paper and crayons and pencils, and I like to draw. I just never got very good.

  3. This is a great post. I love art but I don’t know a lot about it and even less about abstract and modern art. I find it fascinating how expensive art can be and how varied the expressions of art are, some things that are called art boggle my mind. I remember when I was 12 I went to Soho with my mom and we visited several galleries. One of them had a room filled with dirt and as my mom said “They call this art?”! But i love to look at it all. I do consider photographs art…not all photographs mind you! I’m going to check this book out. Thank you for your great post!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Teaser Tuesdays! =-.

    1. I am very curious about art, and I admit that a lot of he modern and abstract stuff escapes me. It is fun to try and guess what something means.

  4. I love art and I love going to art museums. That being said I am always a bit confused when I see paintings that look like nothing (or at least to me they do) and they are considered great works of art. I guess that is what is so great about art…the beauty of it is in the eye of the beholder. I went to the Los Angeles Museum of Art last summer and saw a fantastic exhibition of chicano art. It wasn’t a genre I was familiar with but I loved it…lots of bright, vibrant colors and the pictures all told a story!
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Did I really need to buy more books? =-.

    1. I don’t understand a lot of what people consider art either. Some I like and some just bores me, so you’re not completely alone.

  5. I really don’t know that much about Andy Warhol other than his name. I think I learned more about him than I ever knew just from your review! I do not know a lot about art other than what I learned in school, most of which has been long forgotten. I know what I like and what I don’t like, but that is about it. Like you, I sometimes have wondered why something costs what it does. I’ve never been good with drawing. My artistic abilities are more representative in my writing and through music.
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..Review: Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal =-.

    1. I am definitely with you on my creative side being expressed in art and music. I think I would like drawing but really don’t have the time to give to it, and when I have free time it’s never the fisrt thing I want to do.

  6. Definitely sounds like an interesting read! I studied Warhol for a time when I fancied myself an art history student… college was a crazy time! Haha. I’m fascinated by art — especially modern art — and love talking about the “merits” of both classic and contemporary works. D.C. has some great museums, as do so many other places… I love wandering around with friends and family and just drinking it all in! I’ll be eager to see what you think of this one! 🙂
    .-= Meg´s last blog ..Book review: ‘Life As We Knew It’ by Susan Beth Pfeffer =-.

  7. I love art, and visiting art museums!!!! I dabble in it too, with fiber art.

    This book looks like something I’d enjoy reading. A few months ago I read “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol” by Andy Warhol, and it was interesting getting into his head. The guy was a real character!

    And, as for modern art, I’ve found myself liking it more over the years.
    .-= Valerie´s last blog ..Anyone Want to Buy This Set for Me 🙂 ? =-.