Warhol Foundation Dissolves Authentication Board

Red Self Portrait (1965).

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced in a press release today that it would dissolve its Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board early next year. The board is responsible for deciding what works of art can truly be attributed to Warhol, whose collaborative, print-centric process makes the question of authenticity a bit trickier than it is for other artists.

Details about the dissolution of the 16-year-old board are scant, but it’s been subject to a number of controversies in recent years, among them the decision to declare one print, Red Self Portrait (1965), inauthentic despite the fact that Warhol signed and dedicated the piece to art dealer Bruno Bischofberger in 1969. Earlier this year, the foundation won a lawsuit brought against it by Joe Simon-Whelan, who accused the organization of price-rigging by limiting the number of Warhols on the market.

The board will honor all requests for review submitted before October 19, but will no longer accept review requests after today. The press release offers no details about what the future of the board looks like, but we’ll have more details as they break.

Update 6:00 p.m.

Artinfo nabbed a conversation with Joel Wachs, President of the Warhol Foundation, who went into a few details about the decision to dissolve the authentication board.

Wachs told ARTINFO that the foundation’s decision was driven by the financial toll the board’s operations have taken on the institution has a whole. Consisting of five scholars and curators who meet three times a year to consider submissions, the board costs approximately $500,000 a year to operate. But it was the legal fees from lawsuits over works rejected by the board that ultimately made it untenable, according to Wachs. “I don’t want to spend $7 million a year on lawyers,” he said, referring to the amount paid by the foundation last year toward defending itself.

Warhol Foundation Dissolves Authentication Board