Historical Echoes: Andy Warhol and the Art of Money -Liberty Street Economics
Liberty Street Economics

« Common Stock Repurchases during the Financial Crisis | Main | Improving Access to Refinancing Opportunities for Underwater Mortgages »

July 12, 2013

Historical Echoes: Andy Warhol and the Art of Money

Megan Cohen

Money has been a topic of keen interest throughout history. As noted in a previous post, this fascination has extended into artwork created centuries ago through modern times. One artist who expanded the concept of what people perceive as art was Andy Warhol.

     Warhol was one of the most well-known American artists of the twentieth century, and a master of self-promotion. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol was a successful commercial artist working in advertising, but looking to break into art world. He created 200 One Dollar Bills in 1962, during the beginnings of the Pop Art movement.

     While composing the Dollar Bill artwork series, Warhol first began using a printing technique called silk screening. He drew in ink on acetate, creating images of dollar bills that he then duplicated a total of 200 times, with the silk screening process that simplified the artwork’s production. Warhol was able to compose 200 Dollar Bills, one of his first masterpieces, due to the mass duplication of images allowed by silk-screening that ultimately became his calling card.

     Forty-seven years later, 200 One Dollar Bills went on the block for auction. In November 2009, Warhol’s piece of artwork was expected to auction at Sotheby’s for approximately $8 to $12 million. Instead, 200 One Dollar Bills sold for $43,762,500 to an anonymous buyer. Crunching the numbers, this comes out to a whopping $218,812 per screen printed dollar!

     Warhol's work continues to garner interest in the decades since his death in 1987. Earlier this year, Christie's auctioned off his 1984 piece, U.S. Unemployment Rate, for $32,500. While this price was far less than that for 200 One Dollar Bills, it reflects the public’s continued fascination with Warhol’s artwork, as well as its continued relevance in current financial times.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.

Megan Cohen is a research librarian in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Posted by Blog Author at 07:00:00 AM in Historical Echoes

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About the Blog
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.

Liberty Street Economics does not publish new posts during the blackout periods surrounding Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.

Economic Research Tracker

Liberty Street Economics is now available on the iPhone® and iPad® and can be customized by economic research topic or economist.

Most Viewed

Last 12 Months
Useful Links
Comment Guidelines
We encourage your comments and queries on our posts and will publish them (below the post) subject to the following guidelines:
Please be brief: Comments are limited to 1500 characters.
Please be quick: Comments submitted after COB on Friday will not be published until Monday morning.
Please be aware: Comments submitted shortly before or during the FOMC blackout may not be published until after the blackout.
Please be on-topic and patient: Comments are moderated and will not appear until they have been reviewed to ensure that they are substantive and clearly related to the topic of the post. We reserve the right not to post any comment, and will not post comments that are abusive, harassing, obscene, or commercial in nature. No notice will be given regarding whether a submission will or will not be posted.‎
Disclosure Policy
The LSE editors ask authors submitting a post to the blog to confirm that they have no conflicts of interest as defined by the American Economic Association in its Disclosure Policy. If an author has sources of financial support or other interests that could be perceived as influencing the research presented in the post, we disclose that fact in a statement prepared by the author and appended to the author information at the end of the post. If the author has no such interests to disclose, no statement is provided. Note, however, that we do indicate in all cases if a data vendor or other party has a right to review a post.