The art collectors Jose Mugrabi and his sons, Alberto and David have a collection of 800 Warhols. The number of works in the Mugrabi collection of Warhols is surpassed only by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
The Mugrabis have bought the Warhols over a period of 20 years, starting back when the mean estimate of an Andy Warhol at auction was $66,000, through to the current estimate of $442,000. In a Wall Street Journal report, the Warhol collector says that he is happy to help “defend” these higher prices..
“Rival dealers say the Mugrabis are doing whatever they can to keep Warhol prices high, including occasionally overpaying.. or overcharging.. for the artworks. They say such moves make it far more difficult for others to collect the artist’s work. Mr. Mugrabi said his efforts to “defend” the artist’s price levels are legal and work in favor of Warhol owners everywhere.” Wall Street Journal
And, more from the WSJ report, is a method that the collectors use to massage the art market..
“Lately, the Mugrabis have made some of their boldest attempts to build the Warhol market. In May, the family paid $2.8 million, or $700,000 apiece, for a quartet of small portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy that Warhol painted between 1964 and 1966. Just a month later in London, they paid $1.5 million for a single small “Jackie,” a more-than-100% price increase over the previous sale. Mr. Mugrabi says the goal was to leapfrog the previous asking price and set a new threshold for all the paintings in the “Jackie” series. It seems to have worked: In November, Mr. Mugrabi says he sold another quartet of Jackies for $6.5 million to a new collector — essentially doubling the market price in six months.”
I think Andy Warhol would be happy to see that his art has become such a tradable commodity. He really is a “business artist” now.
“Business art is the step that comes after Art. I started as a commercial artist, and I want to finish as a business artist.” Andy Warhol Quote