Purchase Story

McInnis Unearths Warhol Trove

John McInnis Auctioneers, Amesbury, Massachusetts

Photos courtesy John McInnis Auctioneers

An unexpected trove of Andy Warhol material took an unexpected turn at John McInnis Auctioneers’ December 1 and 2, 2017, sale in its Amesbury, Massachusetts, gallery. After lifelong Amesbury resident Harriett Woodsom Gould died at age 94 in November 2016, her family called in John McInnis Auctioneers to clear the house. John McInnis knew Gould and knew her house was filled with good New England antiques. She had been a presence at McInnis auctions for years and bought freely there.

Andy Warhol’s unsigned 10" x 8" gelatin silver print Jon Gould and Jean-Michel Basquiat realized $1476 (est. $500/1000).

Warhol’s 8" x 10" photograph of Jon Gould and Liza Minnelli, undated and stamped “Andy Warhol,” sold for $1353 (est. $1000/3000).

a: A Novel by Andy Warhol is signed on the inside cover “To Jon / Andy” and sold for $1722 (est. $150/300). With a 1968 copyright, a was published by Grove Press in New York.

Everything would be sold without reserves, and McInnis and his staff set about organizing the auction. In the course of emptying the house they were stunned when they uncovered a stash in the attic of material relating to Andy Warhol (1928-1987) that had belonged to Jon J. Gould, a twin son of Harriett Gould. Gould was the vice president for corporate communications at Paramount Pictures. He was also a companion to Warhol, dividing his time between the corporate life in Los Angeles and the flamboyant scene in New York. After his death at 33 in 1986, his effects were returned to the attic in Amesbury, where they had remained untouched until last summer.

The attic included original signed works by Warhol, gifts from him to Gould, and artworks by other artists such Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Antonio Lopez. The auction received wide presale publicity locally, nationally, and internationally. It was to be a two-day event, with an old-fashioned discovery sale of Harriett Gould’s antiques on December 1 with no Internet bidding. Day two was cataloged and featured more antiques and the collections of her son Jon. A certificate of provenance would accompany every lot sold.

The highlight of the sale was Andy Warhol’s New York Post Marine Death Toll Hits 172, 24" x 20" x 2", a synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on aluminum sheeting image of a crumpled 1983 front page of the New York Post. It is signed “Jon / Andy Warhol ’83.” Estimated at $40,000/60,000, it realized $43,050.

This 8" x 10" gelatin silver print, stamped “Andy Warhol,” is inscribed “Monday February 15, 1982—Walked to Columbus Avenue through the park with Jon and there was a group of five bruisers hanging around and when Jon runs he dances and runs up telephone poles and swings on trees and he has his earphones on so he didn’t hear it but the group applauded.” It was estimated at $1000/3000 and sold for $1968. The photograph depicts Gould midair. The setting may not be Central Park.

This invitation to the exhibition Andy Warhol: A Print Retrospective 1963-1981 at Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City in 1981 featured the artist’s 36" x 36" Factory Editions’ offset lithograph Marilyn, 1967. It sold for $9840 (est. $5000/10,000). It was printed by Colour Editions and signed “Jon / Andy.”

Two days before the auction McInnis was simply stunned when the consignors’ lawyers informed him that reserves would be required after all. Reserves do have a way of putting bidders off.

Still, bidders found much to please them and took away some gems such as a copy of The Large Glass and Related Works by Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) that was the artist’s own 1965 narrative of imagery in his work The Large Glass. It was published in 1967 by Arturo Schwarz of Schwarz Galleria d’Arte in Milan in an edition of 135. It is volume II of the work and contains nine original etchings. It realized $3690 (est. $2000/3000) with buyer’s premium.

This Warhol photograph, Jon Gould with Snow Heart, 11" x 14", gelatin silver print, is stamped “Andy Warhol.” A similar image appears in Andy Warhol’s America (1985). It sold for $1476 (est. $1000/3000).

Nathaniel Currier had presented these four prints along with a stone lion to his neighbors at Woodsom Farm in Amesbury, Massachusetts, after he had spent a summer there before moving to Amesbury later in life. They are titled American Country Life and subtitled May Morning, Summers Evening, October Afternoon, and Pleasures of Winter. Published in 1855 in New York, the 21" x 27" prints had sold at a 1991 auction and had hung at the Gould Insurance Agency until this auction. The prints brought $6150 (est. $10,000/20,000).

This stepback pewter cupboard with traces of red paint and three shelves has shaped ends and a bold cornice. The 88½" x 82" x 18½" cupboard had been cut apart and reassembled using all the original components. Estimated at $1000/2000, it sold for $8302.50.

This 18th-century tall clock with an eight-day brass movement by Samuel Mulliken was estimated at $750/1500 and brought $5227.50. The clock is signed “Sam’l Mulliken, Haverhill,” which was the city of his birth.

Bidders quite liked a 14'10" x 6'5" Caucasian tribal carpet that they drove past the estimate of $200/400 to $4305. An Adirondack trestle dining table, two armchairs, and six other chairs made by Old Hickory of Martinsville, Indiana, sold for $3690 (est. $1500/3000). A drop-leaf pine table in blue paint with two drawers was estimated at $400/600 and sold for $1599. A 24" x 28" charcoal nude image by Warhol, Jon Gould Gesture, brought $4612.50 (est. $7500/15,000).

For more information, go to (www.mcinnisauctions.com) or call (978) 388-0400.

This 8½" high pair of Art Nouveau candlesticks, hallmarked, possibly .800 silver, sold for $1845 (est. $100/200).

This Macey Company oak file cabinet with 15 portfolio drawers over two standard file drawers realized $1599 (est. $200/400).


Originally published in the March 2018 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2018 Maine Antique Digest

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