Artstor has recently made available images of commercial art, canonical works, and thousands of personal Polaroids from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Artstor’s Damian Shand speaks to Michael Hermann, the Foundation’s director of licensing, about the collection.
Damian Shand: 35,000 images from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have just been made available in the Artstor Digital Library. What were the origins of the collection and how difficult was it to bring all the material together for digitization?
Michael Hermann: When Warhol passed away in 1987, he left his extensive inventory of artwork to the Foundation. In order to get such a large, complicated collection cataloged, archived, photographed and digitized, the Foundation embarked on what turned out to be an ongoing 30-year project. The endeavor has been time-consuming and expensive, but as stewards of Warhol’s legacy, we feel it was necessary. Traditional means were used to document the collection while adapting to technological advancements where necessary. In the case of the 28,000 photographs now available on the Artstor Digital Library, we used a crowd-sourcing model. The original 28,000 Warhol photographs were donated to over 180 college and university museums and galleries who in turn documented the artworks and sent the high-resolution digital images back to us.