"Pietro Psaier" Chronology
1965: PIETRO PSAIER APPARENTLY DOES AN "ARTISTS PROOF" FOR A CAR DEALERSHIP IN LONDON AND A "SCREEN TEST SERIES PORTRAIT" IN NEW YORK.
The title of the "artists proof" was The Jack Barclay London Dealership (1965). As Psaier was allegedly in New York at this time, it would be interesting to know if this "proof" was requested by the car dealer from London as it would at least show a London connection. The work is listed at: http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/pietro-psaier-1936-2004-the-jack-barclay-london-1-c-blyrfxsfnk.
Invaluable.com is also listing from the same year, a work (Lot 618) apparently by Psaier described as "Pietro Psaier prepared for Warhols Factory, silk screen, photo, and tints on linen for the Screen Test Series portraits of Jane Russell and Ava Gardner beneath a diagram of taste buds, first edition New York 1965, signed." This would indicate that if he did exist, Psaier was in New York (not London or California) at the time. I assume by "Screen Tests Series portraits" it refers to a series that Psaier was doing rather thanWarhol, as Warhol did not do Screen Tests of Jane Russell or Ava Gardner.
1974: PIETRO PSAIER WINS THE 56TH ANNUAL AWARD OF THE ITALIAN-AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ART IN NEW YORK?
This claim is contained on Nicholson's latest press release ("Latest News") which states: "In 1974 he [Psaier] became the second youngest artist to be awarded the ‘Italian-American Institute of Art’ 56th Annual Award, in New York, a prize given for inspiration to artistic Peers, Pietro Psaier was indeed an artist's artist."
A site user has sent me a photograph of a document he received when he purchased a Psaier from John Nicholson in the late 1990s. Here is the document:
As you can see, the year of the award in the above document is 1973, not 1974. However, the author of the document has also misspelled Psaier's name in the first paragraph (where they spell it "Psairer" in one instance) so it's difficult to know whether this document is correct or Nicholson's press release is correct, without knowing what their sources were. In any case it is also this document which contains a quote attributed to Warhol which was later published as part of a full-page ad in Art in London and also alleges that Psaier sketched the painter, Francis Bacon. Nicholson's press release claims something similar: "Psaier was in the right place at the right time, and became the last artist to draw and sketch the great Francis Bacon, prior to Bacon's death in Madrid in 1992."
Here is the paragraph with the Warhol quote and claim about Bacon from the above document:
But who wrote this document? Where does it come from? Where did the writer get the quote by Andy Warhol? What was the "Italian-American Institute of Art?"
The owner of the painting is doing a blog about it at: http://tuscantony.blogspot.com/2008/08/pietro-psaier.html.
1970's: PIETRO PSAIER PRODUCES WORKS FOR KEITH MOON, OLIVER REED AND MICHAEL CAINE?
According to Nicholson's current press release "During the 1970's Psaier was commissioned by famous stars from the Music and Film business. Works were produced for Keith Moon, Oliver Reed, Michael Caine to name a few." In his February press release Nicholson says "During the late 1970's Psaier was commissioned by many famous stars from the Music and Film business to produce statement pieces for their lavish mansions. Works were produced for Keith Moon, Oliver Reed and Michael Caine to name a few."
The inference is that Psaier produced the works for Moon and the others "during the late 1970s." Moon died in 1978 in London and Oliver Reed was a tax exile in the Channel Islands in the late 1970s. However, given that in his current press release Nicholson has changed "during the late 1970s" to "during the 70s" it is very difficult to ascertain the exact period that Psaier produced the works, assuming he did produce them. Moon and Reed are both dead but Michael Caine is still alive and hopefully someone will contact him to ask if Psaier ever produced work for him.
1985: PIETRO PSAIER WORKS WITH JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT?
Although this claim has disappeared from the current John Nicholson press release, it did appear on one from February 2008 which stated: "In 1985 Psaier moved into Andy Warhol's apartment in Great Jones Street, NewYork and worked with Jean-Michel Basquiat for three months. Later Psaier traveled to Tibet and Nepal... Psaier often created art works which were leased to individuals and companies and were replaced at regular intervals to keep up with the ever changing fashions, many famous Recording Studios, Restaurants, Cafés, Galleries and others including Anna Nicole Smith had his work on display."
The mention of Anna Nicole Smith is interesting because in a text from a different source which I have seen relating to Psaier (with the notation "translated from Blindart text,"), Anna Nicole Smith is also mentioned - along with Jackie Collins, Oscar Lerman, Andy Warhol and various other celebrities. (According to ArtNet, Blindarte offered one or more works by Psaier for sale in Naples on May 17, 2007.)
Here is the text:
"The late Oscar Lerman 1919-1992 was a well known night club owner, film producer, and international gallery owner. In 1976 Lerman commissioned Pietro Psaier to design a custom made members bronze belt buckle for his famous London night club Tramp. Psaier in the mid 70s had no agent, and Lerman was to act on a hand shake - To sell his art.
Once a week Lerman held court, at Rags, another of Lerman's vip Members clubs. Psaier would eat for free as Lerman's guest most lunchtimes, and was also joining in with Lerman and his wife Jackie Collins around his A list table at Tramp both in London and later at is newly opened Tramp of London, Beverly Center, Beverly Hills. Psaier had introduced Lerman to Andy Warhol during a late night at Tramp in London, and suggested that with Lerman's connections, Psaier could be in the same international art market as Warhol.
Trusting his new agent to deliver, Psaier overnight became a regular at Lerman's VIP table - dining and networking with George Best, Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Ava Gardner, Rod Stewart, Arab Princes etc. Lerman was later to relocate with his wife and family to Los Angeles.
Psaier had also returned from New York, and Lerman opened with his long time partner - John Gold - Tramp of London in the heart of Beverly Hills. Lerman was to open his West Coast Madison Gallery, fast to become a pet hobby for Lerman, allowing his wife's book royalties to sheltered.
Psaier was asked to produce a major exhibition of THE GREAT AMERICAN PINUP - Lerman had seen some dozen or so examples at the artist's studio in Malibu, so work began to build an exhibition group, with Lerman owning 50% of reproduction rights for future limited editions. Exhibitions would be held at Tramp of London attended by A list Hollywood.
In 1992 as everything was building to a 6 figure limited edition publication thru the print arm of FACTORY ADDITIONS, when Lerman died of Cancer in 1992. Lerman was to stage his last exhibition at the Private View screening room at Tramp in LA, with the walls graced with Psaiers - PRETTY YOUNG THINGS fruitwood proofs.
The unsold works remained at Tramp long after Oscar Lerman passed over - the new owners, Cannon Films, dumped them outside. In 1999 some 60 examples from that show had been shipped to Italy by the latest Tramp owner - A Mr. PERRITI, who also purchased MGM Studio plus Kenny Rogers mansion for millions, but was later found to be a front man for the Mafia. After Perriti was arrested and imprisoned first in USA and later in Italy, a lawyer was instructed to have all of the Artist's works returned under Italian law - THE REMAINING PROOFS ARE NOW legally free and clear to sell... THIS GROUP OF ART HAS NEVER BEFORE BEEN OFFERED AND ARE UNIQUE CONCEPTS AND PROOFS NEVER TO BE PUBLISHED. Others had been passed to the late Anna Nicole Smith during the 1980s.
[My note: I am not alleging that any of the above is true - I print it here as an example of texts being circulated relating to Psaier. gc.]
In regard to "Factory Additions" mentioned above, Andy Warhol created a company called Factory Additions in c. 1966 to issue prints by Warhol. In 1975 Warhol stopped producing prints under "Factory Additions" and produced them under Andy Warhol Enterprises Inc.
1980's: PIETRO PSAIER TRAVELS TO TIBET AND NEPAL?
Nicholson's current press release doesn't mention Jean-Michel Basquiat or Anna Nicole Smith. It just says "Psaier traveled to Tibet and Nepal during the mid 1980's allowed him to live a life far away from financial problems with Agents and Lawyers in both Rome and Los Angeles." (What were the names of these agents and lawyers - perhaps the companies still exist and would have a record of Psaier?)
FEBRUARY 22, 1987: ANDY WARHOL DIES.
THE 1990's: PIETRO PSAIER LIVES IN MADRID AND LOS ANGELES?
The current Nicholsons press release states "At the beginning of the 1990's a still growing body of fantastic images filled many of Pietro Psaier’s studio sketch books in Los Angeles and Madrid. In his later work there is a demonstration of his versatility."
The grammar in many of these sentences is like a poor translation from a foreign language. Perhaps the source(s) of Nicholson's information are the Spanish exhibition catalog(s) listed later in this chronology. But what was the source of the information in the Spanish exhibition catalogues and where did the Spanish get their Psaiers from?
c. 1992: PIETRO PSAIER IS LAST PERSON TO SKETCH FRANCIS BACON PRIOR TO BACON'S DEATH?
The current John Nicholson's press release states "Psaier was in the right place at the right time, and became the last artist to draw and sketch the great Francis Bacon, prior to Bacon's death in Madrid in 1992." (http://www.johnnicholsons.com/da/56037)
I emailed the Francis Bacon Estate on August 17, 2008, asking them if there was any truth to Nicholson's claim and their reply on August 18, 2008 was "as for Pietro Psaier’s claim to be the last one to sketch Francis Bacon before his death, we have no knowledge of this can therefore not confirm this claim."
MAY 26, 1994: CHRISTIE'S (SOUTH KENSINGTON) SELLS BOB DYLAN BY PIETRO PSAIER.
Item described as:
Bob Dylan/Pietro Psaier/ Dylan, Point Dume, Malibu/signed, acrylic on canvas, signed and inscribed by subject To John, He Who Hath The Father Hath The Son - John, Best Wishes, Bob Dylan/20 x 151⁄2in./ In custom-made frame, inscribed on the reverse Frame Made From Dylan's Windmill Ranch Barnwood, Old Boney Mountain, Malibu -1976/Price Realized £2,200
[Note: There is an accent grave over the "u" in "Dume" in the Christie's lot description.]
MAY 25, 1995: CHRISTIE'S (SOUTH KENSINGTON) SELLS MILES DAVIS BY PIETRO PSAIER.
Item described as:
Miles Davies/ Pietro Psaier signed, inscribed and dated lower centre Pietro Psaier, Malibu California, I Love Susi Zuma Beach 1985 and inscribed on the reverse pen and black ink on paper laid down on canvas /24x20in. (61x50.8cm.) Price Realized £360
JUNE 6, 1996: CHRISTIE'S (SOUTH KENSINGTON) SELLS AN ALLEGED WARHOL/PSAIER COLLABORATION.
[To search for Psaier items on the Christies website and type his name in the search box and choose "past lots" from the drop down menu]
Item described as:
Pietro Psaier/Andy Warhol /Flesh For Frankenstein Torso II/ signed and dated lower right P.Psaier, A.Warhol 1977, additionally signed in blue ink on a Warhol label on the reverse by Andy Warhol/oil on canvas/381⁄2x321⁄2in. (97.3x82.6cm.) framed/Price realized £633
SEPTEMBER 4, 1997: CHRISTIE'S (SOUTH KENSINGTON) SELLS "PSYCHEDELIA"
Item described as:
Psychedelia/A printed reproduction of a collage Psaier & Griffin Nells Joint Show New York, inscribed in white crayon 6/25 Pietro Psaier Rick Griffin -- 283⁄4x181⁄2in. (73x47cm.) framed/Price Realized £16
SEPTEMBER 11, 1997: ARTICLE MENTIONING PSAIER APPEARS IN THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER IN LONDON.
The article was included in the FindArticles.com website but has since been taken off:
Science Museum buys Warhol's Old Sparky
An electric chair once owned by pop artist Andy Warhol yesterday sold at auction for pounds 4,800. In a few minutes brisk and tense bidding, London's Science Museum secured the chair over an anonymous telephone bidder from California in the sale at Bristol Auction Rooms.
The all-steel chair was once owned by California's Department of Penal Correction. It was the main item in more than 30 lots of pop art memorabilia associated with Warhol. It had a guide price of pounds 2,000-pounds 4,000.
The 61-year-old chair was in the prison system, including the infamous Alcatraz, St Quentin and Chino. Its role was more of a visual deterrent than of lethal purpose. Warner Bros used it as a film prop in the fifties. It featured in Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison, Crimewave, and Alfred Hitchcock's I Confess. Warhol acquired it later and was said to have used it to watch horror films at home. His associate, Pietro Psaier, included it in a 1970s joint exhibition of their work when it was christened Rest in Peace: Pax. Two frock-coated characters from the London Dungeon Museum of Horrors - Mr Death and his assistant - had hoped to bid for the chair, with their bidding card appropriately numbered 666. But Mr Death - Peter Osborne, 29 - never got a bid in as his top price of pounds 4,000 was the starting point for the bidding. Science Museum curator, Neil Brown, said that it was hoped to exhibit the Warhol chair within six to ten months in the medical collection. He said: "We understand it was used in at least one American institution for executions. It is part of history and the Science Museum deals not only with the nice things but the nasty bits as well. And the electric chair was certainly one of the nasty bits." Some American states still rely on an electric chair for their executions.
The Independent article, however, was not the first mention of the electric chair. The article was repeating the details that had been mentioned by the Times (London) in an article that appeared on August 23, 1997 titled, "The Shocking Value of Warhol's Deadly Chair." That article stated:
"Warhol, who died in 1987, bought the chair from Warner[s] and installed it in his New York apartment. He said that he often used it for watching horror movies. The chair also featured in Prisoner, a film by Warhol and his friend Pietro Psaier, and in several of Warhol's prints. The electric chair, which is being sold at Bristol Auction Rooms on September 9, comes from Pietro Psaier's private collection of Warhol's pop art. Also on offer is the original bottle of Warhol's perfume 'Stink' in its exhibition display case."
The information in that article apparently came from Senior cataloguer David Rees, of Bristol Auction Rooms.
In regard to the mention of the film Prisoner, I assume the writer is talking about Warhol's film Prison starring Edie Sedgwick and Bibbe Hansen. There is no record of anyone named "Pietro Psaier" working on the film with Warhol.
I have found no record of Warhol owning an electric chair and absolutely no record of him using it to watch horror movies. Although Paul Morrissey would, during the 1970s, direct two horror films "presented" by Warhol (Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula), Warhol, himself, was not an aficionado of horror films.
In text that accompanied the exhibition in Valladolid (October 5 - November 5, 2006), which included Psaier's electric chair, one writer claimed that c. 1965 Warhol asked Psaier if he could buy the chair but Psaier didn't want to sell it to him but allowed him to rent it and the chair was returned to Psaier and remained in Psaier's private collection until it was acquired by the Atlántica Gallery in Coruna, Spain. It was apparently the Atlántica Gallery that provided the chair and works of art alleged to be Warhol/Psaier collaborations to a traveling exhibition in Spain. El Pais interviewed Salvador Corroto, director of the Atlántica Gallery. when he presented the chair and paintings at Arte Sevilla January 14 - 17, 2005.
To view the text about the chair that accompanied the exhibition in Valladolid, go to the text underneath the photograph of the electric chair's strap at:
Sometimes Psaier's actual electric chair is mentioned as though Warhol's Electric Chair paintings and prints were based on Psaier's chair. That is, of course, ridiculous. Warhol did his Electric Chair paintings/prints not from an actual chair but from a photograph of the electric chair at New York's Sing Sing prison. All of his images were based on that photograph. He never used a real electric chair as a source. (See: http://www.warhol.org/education/pdfs/andy_warhols_electric_chairs.pdf)
In regard to the "Stink" perfume bottle mentioned in the Times (London) story as "Warhol's perfume 'Stink', the same or a similar work was offered for sale by Philips de Pury and Company in their inaugural auction of their London office on March 15, 2008. The provenance of the Philips de Pury "Psaier’s Stink No I" (attributed to Andy Warhol and Pietro Psaier) is the "Upstairs Gallery, New York."
MARCH 6, 2001: PETER PSAIER INCORPORATES "FACTORY ADDITIONS INC." IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
[Note January 8, 2011: The online registration details are now at: http://kepler.sos.ca.gov/cbs.aspx. Once you get to the page, click on "Corporation Name" and enter "Factory Additions" into the search box.]
Note: Factory Additions was also the name of the company that Warhol used to publish his prints from c. 1966 - 1974. From c.1975 Warhol stopped producing prints under "Factory Additions" and produced them under "Andy Warhol Enterprises Inc."
It is unclear who "Peter Psaier" is. He has yet to come forward. In 2007 a company named "Studio Psaier" would also be incorporated under his name.
[Note January 8, 2011: The corporation details above are the ones that appeared on the net. The Sunday Times (London) later had one of their investigators examine the actual details of the registration and noted "In March 2001 John Fairchild started a company called Factory Additions, which appears to have authenticated many of Psaier’s works. Peter Psaier was a registered agent and Nadia Fairchild was the secretary." (Richard Brooks and Georgia Warren, "Andy Warhol acolyte may be artistic illusion," Sunday Times (London, 30 August 2009), http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/visual_arts/article6814854.ece)
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