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London has a passion for Psaier's Pop Art

Press release April 7, 2008 Culture

Following on from the successful opening of auctioneer John Nicholson's London office, they held their first inaugural auction in St. James on Thursday 3rd April.


A star attended Champagne reception was held on the Tuesday night with several famous actors, actresses, footballers and serious collectors not only from London but all across the world coming to see some wonderful Pop Art.

The auction consisted of over 200 works by pop artist Pietro Psaier. Psaier was born in a small village in Italy in 1936 and led an interesting and varied life. During the 1950's his father worked on concept sports car designs for Enzo Ferrari and Pietro, with his natural artistic talent often helped and worked as his apprentice. Feeling lost in post-war Italy the young Pietro relocated first to Madrid and then in 1961 found his way to Soho, New York. Whilst working as a waiter in the Greenwich Village Gaslight Café in 1964 he met Andy Warhol and an extraordinary bisexual relationship blossomed between the two. Psaier began designing backdrops for Warhol's films and eventually produced layouts, silk-screens and joint works at Warhol's studio 'The Factory', although few artistic or financial rewards would come his way. While Warhol needed to trace and use a light box Psaier was a skilled artist with watercolours, oils and pencil. Some critics say that without Psaier and fellow artist Rupert Jasen Smith in the background Warhol could never have maintained production of the Factory commercial output but with dignity and style both men chose not to take the limelight from Warhol. After his relationship with Warhol diminished Psaier continued to work by himself at a prolific rate producing hundreds of original pieces of art work. His most popular subjects included Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Oscar Wilde, Jackie Onassis, The Clash, James Joyce, the Beatles, Francis Bacon, depictions of Christ and even Royalty. As a result of the Indian Ocean earthquake which struck on December 26th 2004 and the Tsunami which followed, Pietro Psaier's remote beach house on the coast of Sri Lanka was swept away and his body was never found.

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. A portrait of Clark Gable entitled 'Frankly my dear...' sold for £8,800 and another of Marilyn Monroe made £5,500.

Also in the auction was a large collection of silkscreens undertaken for companies such as Chanel, Cartier, SAKS Fifth Avenue, Macy's department store, Wedgwood and several Television companies all of which made between £1,000-2,000 each. Psaier's need to produce art was insatiable and he created numerous smaller works many of which featured in the auction. Subjects included Frank Zappa, The Jam, The Clash, Joe Strummer, Norma Jean (Marilyn Monroe), Bentley cars, Elvis and Coca Cola to name a few and most sold for between £100-1,000.

John Nicholson is hoping to hold another auction in London in September. For more details call 01428 653 727, email [email protected] or visit the website: