Letter down: The day Andy Warhol’s art got rejected


It’s good to reach for the stars, to aim higher, to strive to be the best. It’s what makes us human and what makes great art, great design and great technology. But, it comes at a price, the ever present possibility of failure. If that possibility has sometimes stopped you from even trying, take heart. Even the greatest of the greats get rejected on their way to success.

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Andy Warhol’s multi-million dollar art is now prominently displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. However, a few years before he created many of his most famous works, MoMA said thanks, but no thanks to his offer of a free drawing. Check out the ever so polite letter and be thankful it wasn’t you who signed it.


Dear Mr. Warhol:

Last week our Committee on the Museum Collections held its first meeting of the fall season and had a chance to study your drawing entitled Shoe which you so generously offered as a gift to the Museum.

I regret that I must report to you that the Committee decided, after careful consideration, that they ought not to accept it for our Collection.

Let me explain that because of our severely limited gallery and storage space we must turn down many gifts offered, since we feel it is not fair to accept as a gift a work which may be shown only infrequently.

Nevertheless, the Committee has asked me to pass on to you their thanks for your generous expression of interest in our Collection.


Alfred H. Barr, Jr
Director of the Museum Collections

P.S. The drawing may be picked up from the Museum at your convenience.

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6 replies
  1. poser, the
    poser, the says:

    A rejection letter for a drawing of a shoe by a (then) nobody? Too bad he didn’t stay a nobody.

  2. Bob
    Bob says:

    Just spoke to MOMA about my “Original letter” sorry to say…They have original this was published in A Book ….there are Thousands of them..


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