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Andy Warhol's estate to sell off all of his remaining works

Handout / REUTERS

An Andy Warhol silkscreen of actor Marlon Brando is expected to sell for $20 million.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which oversees the estate of iconic pop artist Andy Warhol, will sell off the remainder of his estate at an upcoming auction.

The sale of the estate, which includes some 20,000 works, could bring in more than $100 million, the WSJ's Kelly Crow reports.

Christie's will oversee the sale of the collection, which includes silk-screen paintings, drawings, prints, collages, photographs and more. The first will take place in November in the auction house's New York show room.

Why the sell-off now, 25 years after Warhol's death?

In short, the foundation wants to change its focus. Writes Crow: "The foundation said it was simply time for a change. Years ago, it gave away 4,000 of its top pieces to create the permanent collection of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, where the artist grew up. It has also already donated $250 million from past art sales to cultural causes. But by selling off its remaining art assets, it can pare down its operating costs by eliminating the need to store or insure the art, and focus more on its philanthropy. "We sold works in the beginning to build up our endowment," [Chairman Michael Straus] added, "but now we want to maximize our grant-making."

The art world will surely keep a close eye on the sales, as the prolific artist's oeuvre is a top art world commodity, as Crow points out.

But we're particularly excited to see how one art collector responds. His name is Jose Mugrabi and he's known as the world's biggest collector of Andy Warhol works. His 3,000-piece art collection, which includes 800 Warhols, is worth an estimated $770 million, according to Wealth-X.

See photos of Warhol working in The Factory before he was famous

Mugrabi's son Alberto told the WSJ that the foundation had rejected an offer from him and other dealers to buy the collection, and that he was concerned the sudden outpouring of Warhol works would dilute the market.

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