The art world is, no doubt, glamorous. But what also can make it alluring is when pieces mysteriously disappear...and then suddenly reappear. That's what happened recently with Andy Warhol's Absolut Warhol Blue.
Spritmuseum in Stockholm, just announced that they recovered the long lost companion piece to Andy Warhol's Absolut Warhol that has never been shown before. The painting was one of two Warhol pieces commissioned by Vin & Sprit AB in 1985 for an Absolut Vodka advertising campaign. The campaign called on 550 artists across the globe from 1985 to 2004 to create unique portraits of the vodka bottle outline. Warhol was the first with Absolut Warhol.
The painting instantly became an iconic symbol of the brand's U.S. advertising campaign. At the same time, the company commissioned another piece that was never used as an advertisement. It was that second piece that went missing. This was brought to light when the Swedish state donated the collection of paintings from all the artists to Spritmuseum in 2008. It was then everyone noticed the second Warhol was gone.
It seemed like a lost cause until it suddenly resurfaced at an auction 12 years later—35 years after the original commission. Questions about the ownership were raised, and the piece was ultimately recalled from the sale. Suspecting this might be the missing Warhol, Spritmuseum launched an investigation and discovered it was the other Warhol.
"Spritmuseum was able to prove that this was the painting commissioned in 1985 but not included when the collection was handed over to the museum," Museum Director Ingrid Leffler said in a statement. "We are grateful and happy to be able to reunite Absolut Warhol's companion piece with the rest of the collection."
"For us, it feels fantastic that this essential artwork has come home," said Mia Sundberg, curator of the collection. "We're currently looking at how to publicly exhibit Absolut Warhol Blue as soon as possible."