Warhol Cupboards And The Expanded Field

Lot 684: Andy Warhol (AFTER), Wardrobe [of only three of] A Set Six Self-Portraits, 1966/1997, est. EUR 1200-2000 on 12 June 2024 at Quittenbaum, Munich

Europe: it really is the little differences.

It was during the entirely normal activity of researching some Enzo Mari modular shelves that I stumbled upon the absolute licensing mayhem of the Art Design by hb Collection Limited Edition Europe Andy Warhol Foundation Wardrobes, Cabinets, and Cupboards. The first one I saw is above, half of Warhol’s 1966 work, A Set of Six Self-Portraits silkscreened onto the varnished MDF door of a wardrobe. In addition to Warhol’s signature—AND the 1997 copyright credit for The Andy Warhol Foundation, Licensed by MMI [putting a pin in that for later]—silkscreened on the bottom of the drawer like you do on any piece of furniture containing licensed imagery, I guess? In addition to this, there is also the label inside, with the edition number, 405 of 500, and eight metal hangers.

If there were only 500, it would be enough. But there are 500 OF EACH.

Andy Warhol Limited Edition Europe bar cabinet in “Motiv 3: 210 Coca Cola Bottles – 1962,” 1997, ed. 465/500, sold last year in Krefeld [Coca Cola bottle not original]

The bar cabinet above with part of 210 Coca Cola Bottles screenprinted on varnished MDF of the highest quality is listed as Motiv 3. Three Lavender Marilyns on a side-by-side fridge ass media cabinet turned out to be Motiv 4.

Medienschrank Andy Warhol, Motiv 4: Lavender Marilyn – 1962, sold May 2024 via tutti.ch

Motif 5 was a Gold Marilyn, perhaps the most successf—let’s say it’s the most aesthetically true to the original.

Truly a Cabinet of Wonder: Motiv 5: Gold Marilyn Monroe -1962, ed. 336/500, sold at Maison Jules

I actually thought I could make a superpost of all the motifs and then I found Motiv 11.

Money Money Money: Motiv 11: U.S. Dollar Sign – 1982, ed. 10/500, sold in May 2024 in Krefeld

Motif 9 is on a Schuhschrank. For shoes. There really is a bin of parts feeling to these—some extruded steel, some glass, some MDF, some IP—that would almost make Enzo Mari feel at home. Has anyone reconfigured a Warhol bar cabinet into an autoprogettazione table?

Andy Warhol Schuhschrank, Motiv 9: Shoes – 1980, ed. 89/500, sold in 2014 via Auktionhuset

It’s not all hacked together, though. Some of these pieces were precision cut. This wardrobe where the Cow Wallpaper spills over the edge is blowing my mind.

Warhol Wardrobe: Motiv 2, Cow Wallpaper – 1966, 1997, ed. 290/500, sold in May 2024 in Krefeld

These were available in two colorways, but I don’t know if that counts as two motifs. Obviously they were sexy enough to take off and sell on their own, as some kind of art object, though. A. Mazing.

The cow cutouts did not prepare me, however, for the sheer walldoor power of what must surely be Motif 1: Warhol Wardrobe Big Torn Campbell’s Soup Can (Black Bean) – 1962. Now I DEFINITELY want to see a Cady Noland cupboard.

Warhol Soup Can Wardrobe: a five-color screenprint on MDF, 205x250x64 cm, including, presumably, the section of the can extending to the right. img via kleinanzeigen

Maybe if they had more than one pic in 2008, it might have sold? [The pic below is from an expired listing on the German auction site kleinanzeigen.]

Why this of all soup cans? It’s in the Kunstsamlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, so it’s a hometown favorite of the hb Collection. Except for the Marilyn bar cabinet that turned up in Belgium, every other cabinet here was in Germany or German-speaking Switzerland, a very Limited Edition Europe indeed.

Visit the Art, Celebrity and Exhibition Specialist at MuseumMasters.com

And yet the real force behind this extraordinary collection lay closer to home. Museum Masters International is/was just one of many art licensing ventures in New York City and Southampton [Water Mill, actually] run by Marilyn Goldberg. MMI got its start in the ’80s making prints and merch from the artworks owned by Marina Picasso, the artist’s “only ‘legitimate’ heir…All the other descendants were from his many mistresses.” [pdf] No one can explain Goldberg’s success as thoroughly as she does, so do yourself a favor and clear your afternoon for this epic success story.

Point is, though, at one moment in the late 1990s, enough people thought thought adapting Andy Warhol’s paintings into 5,500 pieces of large-scale furniture you could store clothes, or shoes, TVs or CDs, or liquor in was a great idea. For Germany. And as long as the copyright was clearly visible on the front of the furniture, the Warhol Foundation was fine with it.

The Andy Warhol Foundation and MMI guarantee the authenticity of this cupboard and/or carpet

And every one of these cupboards came with a Certificate of Authenticity listing the title, the edition number, the type of cabinet, the dimensions, and an a written assurance that, “Museum Masters International recognize the absolute excellence of style and quality of The HB Collection. Therefore, HB-Collection has been selected as the sole manufacturer and distributor for the first edition ever produced of Andy Warhol-Cupboards. Each limited-edition piece is handcrafted in Europe with an Andy Warhol image screenprinted on the finest varnished MDF for continuous beauty and durability.”

And also, “This Axminster woven area rug is a limited edition published by Museum Masters and is exclusively approved and endorsed by The Andy Warhol Foundation.” Wait, what?