Andy Warhol - Editions, Photographs and Design Hong Kong Friday, June 14, 2024 | Phillips
  • Sat majestically above the serene Alpsee lake, surrounded by dense evergreen forest, the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein is emblematic of the idyllic Bavarian countryside. With its spiralling towers, ivory façade and grandiose scale, the castle has inspired countless tales of magic and romance over the years. Famously, it graced the silver screen as the regal residence of King Stefan in Walt Disney's timeless masterpiece, Sleeping Beauty (1959), and later became the iconic Disney logo. Today, Neuschwanstein reigns as one of Europe's most renowned tourist attractions and has become the most photographed building in Germany. It is no wonder, then, that this instantly recognisable, widely-reproduced symbol of German history and culture captured the imagination of Andy Warhol.


    Left: Neuschwanstein Castle. Image: Album / Alamy Stock Photo
    Right: Disneyland, Florida. Image: Andre Jenny / Alamy Stock Photo

    Andy Warhol’s Neuschwanstein was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bavarian Reinsurance Company in Munich in 1987. The castle was built just over a century earlier when King Ludwig II, who had recently been defeated by Prussia, sought to create a new Bavarian kingdom. He envisioned the enchanting castle of Neuschwanstein sitting at the centre, serving as a residence for the royal family and as a tribute to the renowned composer Richard Wagner. Yet, shortly after the king’s death in 1886, the gates of Neuschwanstein were opened permanently to the public. In 1971, Warhol made a visit to the castle whilst on a trip to Munich for the premiere of his film Trash (1970). Captivated by the fairytale castle, Warhol later requested that his friend, the interior designer Jed Johnson, stencil patterns from Neuschwanstein's interior onto the walls and ceilings of his New York residence.
    “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t have a fantasy. Everybody must have a fantasy.”
    — Andy Warhol
    Warhol’s Neuschwanstein screenprints transform the historic castle into a twentieth century Pop icon. Using a postcard-style photograph overlaid with bold planes of bright colours and cartoonish outlines, his compositions echo the extensive tourist memorabilia of the castle. The composition also resembles the flat shapes and vivid colours of Disney’s magical fairytale animations. By tapping into the profound historical and cultural significance of this German landmark, coupled with its role as a symbol for an iconic American corporation, Neuschwanstein becomes a captivating fusion of Warhol's fascination with fame, mass media, and icons. In this fantastical reimagining, the castle transcends time and place, envisioning the fairytale kingdom dreamt of by King Ludwig II.

    • Provenance

      Edition Schellmann, Munich
      Private German Collection

    • Literature

      see Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann 372
      Jörg Schellmann, ed., Forty Are Better Than One, Munich/New York, 2009, p.353

    • Artist Biography

      Andy Warhol

      American • 1928 - 1987

      Andy Warhol was the leading exponent of the Pop Art movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects, such as Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

      Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably also a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


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Neuschwanstein (see F. & S. 372)

Unique screenprint in colours, on Arches 88 paper, with full margins.
I. 90 x 68.8 cm (35 3/8 x 27 1/8 in.)
S. 110 x 77.5 cm (43 1/4 x 30 1/2 in.)

Signed and annotated 'T.P.' in pencil (one of 25 unnumbered unique colour variant trial proofs, the edition was 100 and 25 artist's proofs), with the artist's copyright inkstamp on the reverse, co-published by Edition Schellmann, Munich and New York, and Maximilian Verlag Sabine Knust, Munich, unframed.

Full Cataloguing

HK$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for HK$355,600

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Senior Director, Head of Editions, Photographs and Design, Asia
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Editions, Photographs and Design

Hong Kong Auction 14 June 2024