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October 2010

(to September 2010)

A painting by "Pietro Psaier" has been sold in Las Vegas with a "Certificate of Authenticity" by "Factory Additions of New York City"

A painting sold in an auction in Las Vegas, purporting to be by "Pietro Psaier," was accompanied by a certificate alleging to be a certificate of authenticity issued by "Studio Psaier-New York/Factory Additions of New York City." The painting was previously owned by Anna Nicole Smith. It can be seen here.

Factory Additions was the name of a company that Warhol started in 1966 to produce his prints. It has been alleged by a London auctioneer, John Nicholson, that Warhol and an artist named "Pietro Psaier" collaborated on a number of works which have been sold by Nicholson in the past. According to a press release issued by Nicholson, "The auction prices for Psaier's work have increased drastically over the last two years and a new record was achieved at the London auction. The chalk drawing of Marilyn Monroe in red, a joint work between Pietro Psaier and Andy Warhol, was produced in 1979 as an initial sketch for a larger oil painting, it eventually sold for £14,000 and similar work in blue sold for £13,000. Another Psaier and Warhol joint work chalk drawing of Che Guevara sold for £7,000 and a large acrylic on canvas of Marilyn Monroe from the Zebra Skin series made £9,000."

The paintings by Psaier are often accompanied by certificates of authenticity from "Studio Psaier" or in some cases by documents purporting to be from the State of California - as in the case of a different Psaier painting that was sold by another auction house in the U.K.:

Top half of the alleged State of California "probate clearance" form for a Pietro Psaier painting

Bottom half of the same form allegedly 'certified' by the Secretary of State of California

The Times in London contacted the Secretary of State's office last year in regard to such certificates as part of a news story that was published on 30 August, 2009. The Times' article states: "Last week a spokeswoman for the secretary of state said: 'The secretary does not issue certificates related to probate clearance.' Such a document was 'fraudulent,' she added." (Richard Brooks and Georgia Warren, "Andy Warhol acolyte may be artistic illusion," The Sunday Times (London), 30 August 2009.)

The same article also notes that Studio Psaier in Los Angeles "is run by Peter Psaier, who claims to be the artist's son, and Nadia Fairchild. She is the daughter of John Fairchild, a British man, who was convicted of selling counterfeit paintings and artefacts at Southward crown court in September 1992." According to the Times, Fairchild started a company called "Factory Additions" in March 2001, with Peter Psaier as a registered agent and Nadia Fairchild as the secretary.

One of the items produced by the auctioneer John Nicholson and a Psaier "researcher" Jacqueline Chapman to prove that Pietro Psaier actually existed is an interview with Psaier published in a Spanish newspaper in 1990. Below is a photograph of the first page of that article next to a photograph of Peter Psaier - the alleged son of "Pietro."

Left: Peter Psaier, c. 2008 - Right: "Pietro Psaier" in 1990.

The problem with the article is that "Pietro" would have been 54 when the interview was done and the photograph of "Pietro" on the right does not look like someone in their early 50s. However, the person in the article's photo does bear a family resemblance to Peter Psaier on the left.

There has never been a question of whether the photograph on the right was Psaier in 1990. The journalist who did the interview was contacted by the Antiques Trade Gazette and the Gazette confirmed, "Just how much of the detail can be relied on in Aznar’s 1990 interview with Psaier is not clear, as she herself admits he jokingly lied to her about his age. Appearing much younger than his years, he claimed to be 26, when in fact he was 54 at the time."

But if that was "Pietro" Psaier in 1990, then who is the gentleman in the photo below?

Alleged photograph of "Pietro Psaier"

The photograph comes from a brochure that accompanied a Psaier painting bought at auction. Here is the page of the brochure which includes the image:

Top half of brochure page

Bottom half of brochure page

The photograph also appears on the website of Psaier "researcher," Jacqueline Chapman, with the proviso: "No part of this website, including text and images may be copied, reproduced or transmitted to a third party in any form for either professional or personal use without written permission." The image comes from the brochure, not Ms. Chapman's website, so there should be no problem in reproducing it - unless, of course, Ms. Chapman is claiming authorship of the brochure or that she was the photographer who took the picture in the first place. Ms. Chapman's website can be found here.

On Chapman's website the photograph is marked "Photograph verified by Carlos Langelaan Alvarez, Psaier's analyst and friend." According to the Antiques Trade Gazette, the therapist treated Psaier from 1979 to 1992. Yet, according to the journalist who interviewed "Pietro Psaier" in 1990 for the newspaper above, he looked like the photo in that article - as she joked about how he looked younger than his years. But how can both photographs be of the same person during a similar time period? What is the date of the brochure photo and who took it? And why did Chapman get Psaier's therapist to confirm that the photograph was "Pietro," instead of just asking Pietro's son, Peter, to confirm that it was a photograph of his father?

The therapist who verified the photograph not only treated Psaier, he apparently also went to nightclubs with his patient. According to the Antiques Trade Gazette (the main trade publication for the antiques business in the UK) Psaier introduced the therapist to Warhol at a nightclub named Joy Esclava in Madrid. Although Psaier invited Warhol to an exhibition of his (Psaier's) paintings, Warhol failed to turn up (despite supposedly having collaborated on paintings with Psaier). The article can be found here.

London auctioneer John Nicholson with the alleged therapist of Pietro Psaier, Dr. Carlos Langelaan Alvarez, who is also head of the Pietro Psaier Foundation in Madrid. (See here)

Dr. Carlos Langelaan Alvarez also happens to be president of the Pietro Psaier Foundation. Most artists' foundations are created to archive, catalogue and/or distribute an artist's work. The Pietro Psaier Foundation turns out not to be an art foundation in the usual sense. Its stated goals in a "Boletin Oficial del Estado" issued in 2009 are "To promote, participate, stimulate and engage in social initiatives in environmental matters, education, consumption, growth and sustainability in general... especially the construction of hospitals and schools." A foundation named after an artist could be used to establish the existence of the artist or lend credence to paintings produced under his name. I have been unable to find any mention of the Foundation's work in the construction of hospitals and schools online. The document, which includes the address of the Foundation, can be found here.

Most of the sales of Psaier's paintings have taken place in Spain, Italy, England and Northern Ireland. Here, for instance, is a painting of Joseph Beuys alleged to be by Psaier which was sold by a gallery in Northern Ireland:

The gallery in Northern Ireland who sold the above painting describes it as being "from Andy Warhol's photographic sitting with Beuys upon a visit to the Factory, New York in 1981" and claims that the work "is from a Factory Additions screen."

The paintings are usually sold with documentation of some sort to "prove" their legitimacy. One document provided with a different Psaier painting has the notation "translated from Bindart text." Blindarte is company based in Naples who has sold Psaiers in the past. The document alleges that "The late Oscar Lerman... commissioned Pietro Psaier to design a custom made members bronze belt buckle for his famous London nightclub Tramp... "

Oscar Lerman and Pietro Psaier

Section of a document provided with another Pietro Psaier painting
(click to enlarge)

The claim that Psaier was commissioned to do a belt buckle for the Tramp nightclub in London is interesting because John Fairchild has been linked to the "Tiffany Studios Bogus Buckle Scam" - for details scroll down here. (Although that site says "it is believed" Fairchild "passed away quite some time ago," he is actually still alive, living in California and London.)

To further complicate matters there are two photos in the Andy Warhol catalogue raisonné which show Warhol with someone who bears a slight resemblance to "Pietro Psaier:"

Detail from Nat Finkelstein's photos of Andy Warhol, Gerard Malanga and unidentified man

The photographer who took the pictures, Nat Finkelstein died in October of last year. His wife contributed an obituary to this site here. Previously, on 10 August 2008, when I was originally researching this story, I emailed Nat asking if he remembered Psaier and he replied: "did you try [name deleted]? He is an expert in Warhol forgeries." (Note: I have deleted the name of the person Nat referred to for legal reasons - it is unlikely that the person named had anything to do with Psaier.) (Email dated 13 August 2008)

Last year I sent Nat's photographs to Billy Name and asked if he could remember the person in the photographs. Billy's response was: "answer: no. may be a museum or gallery staff member." (Email: 19 June 2009) Previously, on 28 July 2008 Billy had written to me: "having read your news item about the psaier bit, i'd guess it's like a syndicate for making a market for the fake psaier works. he certainly wasn't around the factory anytime in the sixties."

It is unlikely the person in the photos is "Pietro Psaier." Nat's photo is from 1966 - 24 years before the photo of "Pietro" that appeared in the Spanish newspaper above. The person in the newspaper photo does not look 24 years older than the person in Nat's photos. If you know who the unidentified man is in Nat's photographs, please email me.

Pietro Psaier, according to John Nicholson's press release, died in the tsunami. His works have only come on the market after Warhol's death. The most recent exhibition of work claimed to be collaborations between Warhol and Psaier took place in Madrid four months ago at the ArtePaso ShowRoom. A video of an earlier exhibition in Spain, showing some of the alleged collaborations (featuring Warhol's signature), can be seen on You Tube here.

Psaier's paintings continue to be sold at general auction sales and online, including on Ebay. Prior to a major auction of his work in 2008, John Nicholson promised to publish a catalogue raisonné of the artist's work but no catalogue raisonné has been forthcoming.

Joe Simon-Whelan calls off his lawsuit against the Warhol Foundation

(Update here)

Joe Simon-Whelan has had to call off his lawsuit against the Warhol Foundation over the authentication of a Self-Portrait for financial reasons. Simon-Whelan is quoted as saying "I'm broke - completely broke," on the Art Info website. The Independent newspaper in London has previously quoted one of the Foundation's lawyers as threatening "When we win this case we will pursue him [Joe Simon-Whelan] wherever he is – he can run back to London and hide in a basement. The case has been a sham from day one."

The Self-Portrait owned by Simon had previously been authenticated by Fred Hughes but was later denied authentication twice by the Authentication Board. It was one of a series of paintings that Joe alleged were done according to Warhol's wishes in a deal brokered by Paul Morrissey who was to be one of the witnesses in the case. Morrissey was determined to give testimony supporting Simon-Whelan despite the fact that he is still recovering from an unrelated accident last year in which he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

Other experts who were expected to testify in support of Simon-Whelan included Rainer Crone who alleges that Warhol had chosen an image from the same series as Simon-Whelan's Self-Portrait for the front cover of his catalogue raisonné published in 1970. According to a statement issued by Simon-Whelan, experts arguing on behalf of the Foundation included Reva Wolf and John Tancock.

One of the paintings from the same series is owned by Anthony d'Offay who also owned ten of the Brillo Boxes that were recently downgraded to "copies" by the Authentication Board.

The next hearing in the case is to take place in New York on 10 November 2010.

The original complaint in the case can be found here.

Details on the Brillo Box downgrade here.

For more information on Joe Simon-Whelan's case go here.

(Update here)

Open studio at Ultra Violet's

Ultra Violet is opening her studio to the public 14-17 October. Her studio is located at 526 West 26th Street, No. 406, telephone 212 534 6336. It will be open on Thursday from 6-8 pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 - 6 pm.

Details on Facebook here.

The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol: Book, trailer and iPad edition

Three quotes from the Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol (To find out who said what go here and click on the various names.)

A trailer has been launched on You Tube for the recently published book The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol and an iPad edition is also being developed. The book is not actually an autobiography of course, nor does it have much to do with Warhol's sex life. It's a collection of interviews of people who were closest to Warhol as friends, business associates or Factory workers. Included is a rare interview with Warhol's sound man Buddy Wirtschafter who mentions Warhol's "first colour film" and an "epic" which he refers to as Lives of Winnie deFranco.

Buddy Wirtschafter:

"I worked on his first colour film, in which Ondine and someone else were mushing in fruit, and all you would see would be their hands mushing in fruit. It was Ronnie Tavel and several people... It was in the Factory, and I don't think he ever released it. Then immediately after that, he started on a period of scripted epics like Horse and The Dreams and Lives of Winnie deFranco. We were doing a film a day..."

Some versions of the stories told in these interviews have appeared in other books, but the particular first-hand accounts in this book are riveting - for instance Viva's account of being locked out of the Union Square Factory after showing up there with Diane Arbus: "I was with Diane Arbus before she took those horrible pictures for New York magazine, and we had all her equipment and it was raining. We went to the Factory, the door was locked, none of the telephones worked in Union Square, so I turned and smashed in a telephone booth. I was so frustrated... I was trying to unscrew the lock with a dime, and Andy showed up. I started yelling at him, and he said 'You're crazy.' I threw my pocketbook at him, and he threw it back at me, and I threw it at him."

Or Brigid Berlin claiming that she "was trying to be a big shot" around the time she appeared in The Chelsea Girls: "You see, at that time, when I did that movie and I was living at the Chelsea, when I was in with Rodney and all of those people... I thought it was very chic to sell drugs, to have my bicycle, and to wear my double-breasted blazer with the gold buttons, and I had a secretary, Pixie, who I paid $30 a day, cash. And I lied! I told everyone in town that I had three pounds of heroin. I would make grass deals all over the telephone and I didn't have the grass to sell them. I was just trying to be a big shot."

Or Mario Amaya talking about what it was like to be shot by Valerie Solanas at the same time as Warhol (accompanied by a classic photo of Valerie by Gretchen Berg): "I wish she [Valerie Solanas] did come banging in. That was the whole point. When she walked in, she was just creepy and quiet and moody and peculiar. Well, the place is full of such creeps all the time... I have really great respect for Andy because of his mind, but how can somebody really intelligent like this surround himself with dreary, creepy people? And this is exactly what I was thinking when I turned around and went to the back of the studio to get a cigarette out of my pocket... and suddenly I heard these loud noices and I thought it was an explosion in the street. The next thing I heard was, 'Oh, Valerie, no, no,' and I dropped to the floor... I twisted around to look up, and she was practically standing over me... just taking a pot shot at me. In fact, she took two... If ever I was tempted to turn to religion, that was the moment because it went right through my back and came out about a quarter of an inch from my spine."

Other inteviewees include Warhol's first superstar Naomi Levine; Leo Castelli; Eleanor Ward; Gretchen Berg; Henry Geldzahler Sam Green; Fred Hughes; Nico; Lou Reed; Taylor Mead; Gerard Malanga; Paul Morrissey; Ronald Tavel and others. In addition to the interviews there are also articles on "Andy as Moviemaker" and "On the Road with the Exploding Plastic Inevitable" as well as a foreword by editor Christopher Trela and an article on "Understanding Andy" by interviewer John Wilcock, one of the original founders of Interview magazine. Wilcock's comments on Warhol throughout the book are often as interesting as the comments made by the people he interviews. Highly recommended.

The website for the book is at here.

The Museum of Modern Art to premiere two newly restored Warhol films in honour of Callie Angell

left: Original flyer for the Boston Tea Party gig with Nico's name - Top: Second version of the flyer with Nico's name crossed out - Bottom: version of flyer without Nico's name (See here)

The Museum of Modern Art will be paying tribute to the recently deceased Warhol scholar Callie Angell by showing two newly restored Warhol films - Face (1965, 66 mins) and The Velvet Underground in Boston (1967, 33 mins) on October 24 and 25th. It was around the time of the filming of The Velvet Underground in Boston that Nico left the band and Warhol stopped managing them.

Lou Reed: The Biography by Victor Bockris:

"The night he got back [from Europe] Warhol took Nico to Boston so she could join the VU onstage during a concert at the Boston Tea Party. In typical Warhol fashion, the two arrived late. Surprising both Andy and Nico, Lou refused to let her onstage... This incident prompted a meeting between Warhol and Reed to decide what kind of financial and time commitment Warhol wanted to make to the EPI... as Lou recalled the incident, 'I fired him.'" (LR145-6)

Face stars Edie Sedgwick and was one of the films shot for a planned twenty-four hour film that was to be called The Poor Little Rich Girl Saga.

Callie Angell (Andy Warhol Screen Tests):

"In addition to small roles in Bitch, Horse, and Vinyl, she [Edie] starred in a film series originally conceived as a day in the life of Edie Sedgwick, a twenty-four hour film that was to be called The Poor Little Rich Girl Saga. These Sedgwick vehicles capture Edie in what are intended to be aspects of her daily life: waking up in the morning and talking with a friend while getting dressed in Poor Little Rich Girl; endlessly applying makeup, getting stoned, and chatting with the same friend in Face; getting to know new boyfriends in Beauty #1 and Beauty #2; out to dinner with a bunch of friends in Restaurant; and hanging out in her apartment with friends in Afternoon." (AD181)

Factory 2 - a play about Andy Warhol's Factory lasting 7 1/2 hours - to be performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival on October 9th and 10th

Factory 2, a play lasting 7 1/2 hours based on Andy Warhol's Factory (in Polish with English subtitles) will be performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival (sponsored by Ulster Bank) on October 9 at 3:30 pm and October 10 at 1:00 pm.

The production is written and directed by Krystian Lupa of the National Stary Teatr, Krakow. Lupa's previous productions in Poland include Dostoyevsky's The Brother's Karamazov (for which he won the Louis award), Thomas Bernhard's Immanuel Kant (for which he won the 'Statuetka Fredry' for 'Theatre Event of the Year'), Hermann Broch's The Sleepwalkers (for which he won the French Critics' Award), and Robert Musil's The Dreamers (for which he won the Konrad Swinarski Award bestowed by Theatre Monthly).

Details on the Dublin Theatre Festival website here.

Vincent Fremont to appear at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on November 18th in conjunction with Andy Warhol Enterprise$

A new book, Andy Warhol Enterprises, featuring an essay by Thomas Crow and and an interview with Vincent Fremont (previously the vice-president of Andy Warhol Enterprises Inc.) is being published by Hatje Cantz and is due out in November. The book is the exhibition catalogue for the "Andy Warhol Enterprises" show which opens on October 10 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Fremont will be appearing there on November 18. Tickets for his talk are free - available up to one hour before the event, space permitting. Details here.

The Warhol museum gala: October 30, 2010

The Warhol museum in Pittsburgh will be celebrating its 15 years in existence by holding a glamorous gala in the historic David L. Lawrence Convention Center's Spirit of Pittsburgh ballroom on October 30th. VIP dinner tickets can be had for $500, with after dinner party/dance tickets going for $75.

Details here.

Interview with Ultra Violet

Ultra Violet relaxing in her studio

An interview of Warhol star Ultra Violet by Victor P. Corona and Thomas Kiedrowski (of The Andy Warhol Sites Tour) has appeared in New York Art Beat here.

From the interview:

TK: "What is the inspiration for your recent work? You seem drawn to Mickey Mouse."

UV: "I am not drawn to Mickey Mouse. If you can read the title, I am drawn to Michelangelo. Why? Because he was a genius, because I do not neglect what went on in the past. What I like are the wings. This is an angel. Can’t you see? This character is flying. This is not Mickey Mouse. I used to paint a lot of angels. It’s really not Mickey.

These are my Mickey Mouse glasses. I’m giving a lecture on Salvador Dalí at the High Museum next week and I’m going to be wearing these...."

Andy Warhol by Gretchen Berg

Lid no. 11

Photographs of Andy Warhol taken by Gretchen Berg in the '60s have been published for the first time in the new issue of Lid magazine - Lid no. 11. Details here.

Andy Warhol: the early sixties at the Kunstmuseum Basel

An exhibition focusing on Andy Warhol's early work of the sixties opened last month at the Kunstmuseum Basel and continues until 23 January 2011. It is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue which includes texts by Arthur C. Danto and George Frei, among others.

Warhol after Munch on You Tube

You Tube footage of Warhol after Munch here

Footage of the "Warhol after Munch" exhibition that closed at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark on September 12, 2010, has materialized on You Tube. Click on the image above to play. An exhibition catalogue for the show has also been published.

to September 2010

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