Warhol Foundation Dissolves Authentication Board

andy warhol self portrait red1 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.


  1. I knew Andy & once survived a year directly because of him… really a great story I’ve written of on Facebook. This story was known to The Warhol Foundation who in 1995 had me on a controversial Artist Talk on Art Symposium Panel Series in SOHO as the only artist along with their then CEO Archibald Gillies, Alexandra Peers of the Wall Street Journal & critic Judd Tully & the packed public event was filmed. My position was Andy would have wanted more money going to artists. I suppose that’s what indirectly later happened, with many arts organizations helped — we know the names — but the problem is it’s become extremely conservative affair & not at all really at all about individual artists who are the real visionaries society needed to change things, which remains far truer now than then.

    I hope this new policy statement by the Warhol Foundation doesn’t becomes another way for keeping a fair share going to individual artists willing not to easily play into the art marketing system. I also hope it’s not primarily feeding big budget art organizations whose tastes are suspect & congruent with the system awarding artists riding the waves of fashion. I as then continue to feel the Warhol Foundation is not serving the deeper needs of society in an art system ever more convinced that money & pure art marketing totally trumps the value of art which itself has become almost incidental. I feel Andy wanted artists he would respect to receive part of the pie — & still do today… 

    The above comment in the NY Times 10-21-11 is now part of Carol Vogel’s piece about the Warhol Foundation Authentication Board being dissolved. However what’s far more powerful — in fact a related Pyrrhic victory for me after decades — is the now revealed Warhol Foundation official mission statement in comment # 6 before my comment #7 determined by Andy himself. Please read comment #6 carefully! The statement aligns perfectly with my expressed thoughts I repeatedly stated in 1995 at the Warhol Foundation public panel I’d initiated — during which their CEO vigorously denied as to what Andy truly wanted as totally unsupported by any provable fact. What’s now presented describes what Andy Warhol really wanted as opposed to the ongoing desires of Warhol dealers & collectors who wanted no such thing. The implications are staggering totally negating the position of the dealers & collectors & now finally change to what main purpose the Warhol Foundation will operate. This will have tremendously positive implications for the wider serious community of artists… & help restore the balance in an art world that’s for a long while placed art marketing as primary & allowing art itself becoming almost incidental — & am glad to say I played a pivotal role, even if taking decades to redress.