The New York–based Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has received an archive of documents and materials related to Warhol’s legacy that was amassed by the late pioneering dealer Thomas Ammann, who had sold work by Warhol during his lifetime.
The origins of the archival trove, which includes photographs and other works pertaining to the artist’s career, dates back to the late 1970s when Zurich-based Amman, who died in 1993, began collecting ephemera around the Pop artist. As a dealer, Ammann gained a reputation for selling Impressionism and modern art, though he at times also sold the work of contemporary artists.
Ammann would go on to become a long-time confidante and patron of Warhol, whom he had met in the ’70s while working for dealer Bruno Bischofberger, and it was around this time that Ammann floated the idea to Warhol about beginning work on a catalogue raisonné of his art. The month before he set up his own shop, Thomas Ammann Fine Art, in 1977, Ammann got permission to do so. Though Ammann worked on after Warhol’s death in 1987 and until his own, from AIDS-related causes, in 1993, he left the project unfinished; his sister and business partner, Doris, collaborated with the Warhol Foundation to continue the project, publishing the first two volumes, in 2002 and 2004.
The current gift, donated by the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation, will help the Warhol Foundation, now the sole steward of the Warhol catalogue raisonné, as it compiles the project’s sixth volume, focused on Warhol’s paintings and sculptures from 1978 to 1980 and to be published in spring 2024.
“Not only will this volume document the very years when Thomas Ammann and Andy Warhol began to work together,” Neil Printz, the current editor of the catalogue raisonné, said in a statement, “it will feature Warhol’s striking portraits of Ammann, painted in early 1978, just as he ventured out on his own as an independent art dealer and initiated the catalogue raisonné of Warhol’s work.”
The Ammann Foundation, established after Doris’s death in 2021, has recently begun to sell works that the siblings owned to raise money for charities it supports in medical research and education. One such work, Warhol’s 1964 portrait of Marilyn Monroe titled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964), made international headlines in May when it sold at Christie’s New York for $195 million (with fees), breaking the artist’s auction record.