Art Auctions: How to Bid. What to Do.

Don’t be intimidated by the auction process.  It’s a lot of fun and very exciting.  Here are a few things to know about a typical auction before you attend.


  1. Take advantage of the pre-registration period to inspect the items that will be available for auction.  This will allow you to do any final research and prepare your minimum and maximum bid amounts in your head before the fast-paced activity begins.
  2. Pre-register and get a bidding number
    Most auctions today require that anyone intending to bid be pre-registered with the auctioneer and assigned a bidding number. This bidding number is usually written on a card that the bidder can hold into the air, signifying to the auctioneer of the intent to bid. The registration is on-site.If you do not register and receive a bidder number you will not be allowed to bid.
    While allowing a bit of privacy for bidders, it enables being recognized as a bidder by the auctioneer.
    The auctioneer will announce the number of the winning bidder along with the winning amount.
  3. Expect to pay a buyer’s premium on top of the winning bid price.  This can range anywhere from 15-25%.
  4.  Be clear when making bids. Call out, put your hand up, flash your bidding card, etc. Basically, do whatever is effective in calling attention to your bid. If the auctioneer misses you, repeat your action until he or she sees you.

Marilyn Monroe Artwork by Andy Warhol

Marilyn Monroe Artwork by Andy Warhol

Over the course of my experience in the fine art industry, I am returned again and again to the mystical Marilyn Monroe artwork made so famous by Andy Warhol.  Not a week goes by that I don’t get an inquiry regarding this era of the artist’s career.  So, when I ran across this article discussing the artwork, I thought I would share it here since it is so relevant to my clients.  – Gavin Abadi

auctionitems_warhol_120Marilyn Monroe Artwork by Andy Warhol
By Mark Traston

Andrew Warhola (known as Andy Warhol) painted a variety of paintings of the actress Marilyn Monroe after she committed suicide in 1962. Warhol made it his goal to mass-produce his art by using a method called silk screen. This method involves enlarging and transferring a photo on to silk. A variety of colors are printed on to a screen using a rubber squeegee.

For his paintings of Marilyn Monroe, Warhol used a photograph by Gene Korman from a publicity shoot for the film, Niagara. Andy Warhol painted Marilyn Monroe’s paintings with one color: green, blue, lemon yellow turquoise. Next he silk screened her face on top. In this way, he created different styles and depicted many different colors. In the paintings, she was either by herself, multiplied in a grid or doubled. After four months, Andy Warhol’s paintings were complete. Andy Warhol issued a portfolio of his Marilyn Monroe paintings in 1967.

Andy Warhol interest in fame inspired him to make his Marilyn Monroe paintings. Warhol admired Marilyn Monroe as a star. He was fascinated by her beauty and thought of her as a role model. In his art work, he portrayed Monroe as not only beautiful, but also dark and mysterious. Warhol invented the phrase, “fifteen minutes of fame” which means a celebrity such as Monroe catches the public’s attention for a short lived period of time. Then, the media moves on to other celebrities who fascinate the world.

Andy Warhol graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology with a major in pictorial design. After graduating, he started his career as a commercial illustrator. After failed attempts at exhibiting his work in the 1960s, Warhol decided to incorporate pop culture into his works of art. Known as pop art, Warhol used every day objects as subjects for his paintings. He became famous as “Pope of Pop” for his paintings. In addition to Marilyn Monroe, Warhol painted other celebrities in “The Factory”, Andy Warhol’s studio in New York.

Those interested in Andy Warhol’s artwork and paintings of Marilyn Monroe can view them at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Andy Warhol Museum is one of the biggest museums featuring only one artist in the world. The museum features more than four thousand works of art by Warhol. His works of art include paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, films and videos. In addition to Warhol’s artwork, visitors can find information on Andy Warhol’s life.

Mark Traston is an associate with Portrait Painting. The company specializes in turning a photo to painting. Each portrait artist specializes in a specific area including wedding paintings, pet portraits, and executive portraits.

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Gavin Abadi Provides More Tips on Avoiding Scams and Ripoffs

gavinabadi_avoid_scams_ripoffsPart II of Gavin Abadi’s Expert Advice on Avoiding Ripoffs and Art Scams

Gavin Says:

Make sure the auctioneer is licensed.  Many states such as Florida have an auction commission that governs the auction business. The auction commission has very strict guidelines that have to be followed. If an auctioneer has been licensed for only a few months  and he is breaking any rules perhaps they haven’t caught up with him yet, as it takes a few months for them to investigate and hold a hearing.

If an auctioneer ever sells a fake item they would almost certainly loose there license on top of any criminal charges that would likely follow. Therefore, if an auctioneer has been licensed for several years that would be a good sign that he is legitimate. The auction commission is very strict so a practicing auctioneer that does a lot of sales may get small infractions such as a violation for not listing their license number properly on an ad which is a common occurrence due to newspaper typos. If his record shows he was fined and still was able to practice as an auctioneer that would most likely mean he could prove that he had submitted the ad proof correctly and it was published with a typo and was not his fault. However if his license was revoked it would most likely mean it was done intentionally. So as long as the auctioneer has a license to practice and has been licensed for a number of years, then you can feel more comfortable doing business with him as it is most likely not a scam.

Pay with a credit card!! If you are sold something fake you could dispute your credit card and be refunded. This lessons your risk of a scam.

Gavin Abadi has been licensed in Florida for over a decade.

Fine Art as an Investment: Advice from Inside the World of Art

Bonham's Fine Art
So you have made the decision to become the proud owner of a new masterpiece of fine art – not just for the aesthetic appeal it provides hanging on your wall – but also as an alternative investment. This decision can (and should) be a wise and profitable one for you.

This may be stating the obvious, but I would be remiss if I didn’t.  Rare art=valuable art.  A first hand original work of art is practically a must when looking to purchase a piece as an investment opportunity. Rarely will you find anything that will increase exponentially in value that is not an original work created and signed by the artists very own hands. Some exceptions to this rule do exist, of course. Usually this will apply to unique limited edition prints all done individually by the artists themselves.

According to the experts on Investopedia, several factors determine the value of an artist’s print: the size of the edition, that is, the number of prints the artist makes of one work; the significance of the work; the condition of the print; and whether it is signed and numbered by the artist. In the market for prints, it is rarity that bestows value. A low run of limited edition prints is more valuable than a mass-produced image. Even an earlier pull of a print – say No.10 of 100 (rather than No 80 of 100) – can mean better value.

Another important factor you should definitely abide by when considering your art investment is that it is a long-term investment. So enjoy it while it adorns your walls. Try not to get too greedy and sell too soon. When you are ready to sell your art your best resource for getting you the maximum value of the investment is to utilize the service of a fine art auction house. Auction houses like this vary by percentage of the final sale price so be sure to check out more than one and do your homework on the auction house. For a few tips on ensuring you are working with a reputable source, take a look at my previous blog posting entitled, Gavin Abadi’s Expert Advice on Avoiding Ripoff and Art Scams.

Gavin Abadi’s Expert Advice on Avoiding Ripoffs and Art Scams

Gavin Abadi Sells Authentic Art Live and WholesaleBuying a piece of fine art should be a fun and exciting experience for anyone.  Certainly not one where a fly-by-night “art auctioneer” promises you rare treasures only to swindle you out of what was going to be your newest investment by running an art scam on you.  Unfortunately, these guys still manage to weasel their way into even the most reputable art auctions here and there.
But no need to be discouraged.  The art of the deal is not dead by a long shot.  With more reputable auctioneers out there promoting genuine artwork at great prices, you can still give a live art auction a shot.
We, at Premium Art Alliance, endeavor to ensure that all of our artwork and collectibles are completely  authentic.   Our priority is making sure our clients get what they came for and win their auction item completely satisfied.  Each and every time.   Because of this we, as should the entire art community, take scams very seriously.
Follow my simple advice below to make sure you get the real art deal from a trustworthy art dealer.
  •  Do your homework.  If you are planning to attend an upcoming auction and know that you are interested in a piece of artwork or collectible being offered by a specific auctioneer then you should definitely take the time to do a little research before you ever get to the sale date.  Call the auctioneer or company and talk to them about their business.  Get the basics like how long they have been in business, how experienced they are in auctions, and also confirm a website address where you can get more information about them and assess how they represent themselves to the online community.
  • Ask for References.  Typically auction houses and auctioneers have a list of satisfied customers that they would have no problem referring you to.  Take a few minutes to contact the prior clients and get a brief summary of their experience with your potential new art salesperson.
  • Take a look at the participation schedule for live art auctions and see if your art dealer is a repeat attendee.   I conduct auctions on behalf of Premium Art Alliance weekly where we are in the same place week after week and attend the same large annual events year after year.  Someone attempting to run a scam will most likely not have such a consistent attendance.
  • Research the value of the piece you intend to bid on before you attend the auction.  While actual values of fine art is somewhat subjective, you can still have a general idea of whether a piece should cost you $300 or $3000.  Take a look at what the current retail prices are for similar pieces and also what the appraised value is for similar pieces.  The more information you have about the object you are bidding on, the better off you are.
If you have done due diligence by follow these simple steps, by the time you arrive at the auction you should be able to bid with confidence and have fun winning the auction for your desired rare treasure.
Good luck and happy bidding from Gavin Abadi and Premium Art Alliance!