Warhol Brillo Boxes Deemed Copies

The Art Newspaper is reporting that more than 100 Brillo boxes thought to have been works by Andy Warhol have been downgraded and deemed copies by the Andy Warhol Authentication Board.  As many appraisers are aware there have been numerous controversies about the Warhol authentication board process, and some of its decisions including charges of conflict of interest and market supply manipulations.

There still is some confusion on these boxes and if they were authorized by Warhol or not.  It now appears official that the board has decided they are copies, and not officially authorized works by Warhol. Many of the boxes have been bought and sold in the past as works by Warhol, and some had previously received conformation from the board that they were in fact authentic. An interesting article for the appraiser and great background on authentication and how attributions can change over time.

The Artnewspaper states

In 1994, the Belgian dealer Ronny van de Velde bought 40 boxes from Hultén for $240,000. Van de Velde told us in 2007 that he had certificates from Hultén confirming he was authorised by Warhol to extend the series. Between 2004 and 2006, Van de Velde secured stamps from the board confirming these were 1968 Brillo Soap Pads Box [Stockholm Type]. In 2004, the London dealer Brian Balfour of Archeus Fine Art bought 22 boxes from Hultén for around £640,000. Ten were sold through Christie’s shortly afterwards to a UK buyer for £475,650, who turned out to be the art dealer Anthony d’Offay. Balfour also had letters from Hultén and the Warhol authentication board.

In July, the board sent a report to Lars Nittve, director of the Moderna Museet, which holds six of the disputed boxes in its collection. It said it had “examined and re-examined” the “box sculptures”, Hultén’s personal papers and other museum archives, and were now downgrading the boxes to “copies”.

The board now says there are two sets of Hultén-­produced boxes: a small number (about 10 to 15) made in 1968, straight after the show. The board refers to these as “Stockholm type boxes”. The rest, 105, were produced at Hultén’s request by carpenters for a 1990 exhibition in Russia. The board refers to these as “Malmö type boxes”.
To read the full Artnewspaper article, click HERE.

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