Original, signed ball point pen on paper drawing by Andy Warhol which was sent in to Barnebys appraisal service. Executed circa 1956, this drawing is stamped as authentic by the Andy Warhol Authentication Board, Inc., and numbered A126.056 on the reverse. Private collection. Acquired by the present owner in 1969. Drawing size is 16-3/4" by 13-3/4". Original, signed ball point pen on paper drawing by Andy Warhol which was sent in to Barnebys valuation service.
Executed circa 1956, this drawing is stamped as authentic by the Andy Warhol Authentication Board, Inc., and numbered A126.056 on the reverse. Private collection. Acquired by the present owner in 1969. Drawing size is 16-3/4" by 13-3/4".

The year was 1956, a 28 year-old Andy Warhol was beginning to gain recognition on the New York art scene thanks to a string of exhibitions in the city. His early career as an artist was focused on commercials, with his first commissions being illustrations of shoes for Glamour magazine and later for shoe designer, Israel Miller. It was one of these whimsical accessories illustrations that Warhol would submit to MoMA for acceptance into its permanent collection.

In 2009, MoMA revealed their rejection letter to Warhol from 1956 via Twitter (a social media platform we’re sure Warhol himself would've loved.)

1956 letter from MoMA addressed to Andy Warhol Image: MoMA 1956 letter from MoMA addressed to Andy Warhol
Image: MoMA

The letter in question, dated Oct. 18, 1956, and addressed to Warhol at 242 Lexington Ave., NY, NY, explains why the collections committee decided to reject the drawing, Shoe, which Warhol offered as a gift.

MoMA’s Alfred H. Barr Jr wrote, ”I regret that I must report to you that the Committee decided, after careful consideration, that they ought not to accept it for our Collection. Let me explain that because of our severely limited gallery and storage space we must turn down many gifts offered, since we feel it is not fair to accept as a gift a work which may be shown only infrequently.”

Just to make sure Warhol was clear that his work was not to stay at the MoMA, the letter ends:  "P.S. The drawing may be picked up from the Museum at your convenience.” Props to MoMA seeing the funny side of their misjudgement and tweeting the letter.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Shoe signed 'Andy Warhol' (lower right) blotted ink and golden leaf on paper 11¾ x 21 5/8in. (29.7 x 55cm.) Executed circa 1956-57 Sold at Christie's in 2002 Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Shoe
signed 'Andy Warhol' (lower right)
blotted ink and golden leaf on paper
11¾ x 21 5/8in. (29.7 x 55cm.)
Executed circa 1956-57
Sold at Christie's in 2002

Today, Warhol’s Shoe drawings can fetch tens of thousands of dollars at auction, in 2002 a blotted ink and golden leaf on paper created in 1956 sold for $36 000 at Christie’s. Check out more realized prices for Warhol here.

The same year that Warhol's work was rejected by MoMA, the artist was working on other drawings, including a series of ballpoint studies of the male form. The voyeuristic images of men continue throughout Warhol’s oeuvre, as seen in his 1963 film Sleep as well as his photography from 1986.

Andy Warhol "Unidentified Male" circa 1956. Black ballpoint pen on Manila paper Provenance: The Estate of Andy Warhol, New York. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York. Sold at Bukowskis in 2015 for $22 400 Andy Warhol "Unidentified Male" circa 1956. Black ballpoint pen on Manila paper Provenance: The Estate of Andy Warhol, New York. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York.
Sold at Bukowskis in 2015 for $22 400

The piece sent in to Barnebys appraisal service was one of these early line drawings of young men, some of which were featured in Warhol’s Drawing for a Boy-Book launch and exhibition at New York’s prominent Bodley Gallery in 1956. The extremely intimate pieces draw inspiration from French masters Henri Matisse and Jean Cocteau, reducing the human body to well-placed lines. Other works from the series can be seen in important museum collections around the world, including The Tate, London.

The Andy Warhol piece sent in to Barnebys appraisal service from a private collection. Acquired by the present owner in 1969 The Andy Warhol piece sent in to Barnebys appraisal service from a private collection. Acquired by the present owner in 1969

This year, the Warhol drawing sent in to Barnebys appraisal service will make its way back to New York, 61 years after it was first drawn in the same city, as it hits the auction block at Swann Galleries in May 2018. Swann's experts have provisionally valued the original Warhol could fetch in excess of $10 000 at auction.

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Think you have something that could be worth a pretty penny? Send it in to Barnebys appraisal service by creating an account here. Upload photographs and information on your piece - which can all be done straight from your smartphone. Your piece will then be automatically sent to our team of specialists, who will expertly appraise the piece and create your personalized appraisal certificate. No need to wait - each appraisal you submit has a guaranteed response time of 48 hours. Our team of specialists are seasoned auction experts who have accumulated decades of art market experience. Representing over 40 categories, our Appraisal Team is able to value the full spectrum of fine and decorative art globally.

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