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  • Provenance

    The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York
    Blains Fine Art, London
    L & M Arts, New York

  • Literature

    G. Frei and N. Printz, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Sculptures, 1964-1969, vol. 2A, New York, 2004, pp. 158 and 161, no. 1013 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    During the 1960s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don’t think they’ve ever remembered. I think that once you see emotions from a certain angle you can never think of them as real again. ANDY WARHOL

    (G. Celant. SuperWarhol, Milan, 2003, p. 45)

    Jackie, 1964 is a defining example of Andy Warhol’s early silkscreen work. Prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Warhol had concentrated his efforts on producing silkscreens of two other celebrity icons: Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. He commenced this particular portraits during moments of crisis—Marilyn Monroe’s silkscreens appeared shortly after her death, and Taylor’s life-threatening battle with pneumonia inspired her own silkscreens. But the with the media frenzy that surrounded Kennedy’s murder and the subsequent canonization of Jacqueline Kennedy as the patron saint of tragedy and strength in American culture, Warhol found that the former first lady had been exposed to unprecedented levels of popular exposure. In Jackie, 1964, we see Warhol arriving at a culmination of his early silkscreen portraits. And, as opposed to Warhol’s professed indifference to the Kennedy assassination, the present lot shows his techniques of mechanical and multiple reproduction responding meaningfully to a seminal event in the history of American media.

    The genesis of Warhol’s Jackies, including the present lot, is the published print photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy in the aftermath of the assassination. Warhol chose eight particular images to silkscreen; some depict the first lady before the event, and some during the swearing in of Lyndon B. Johnson and the funeral. Jackie, 1964 shows the first lady arriving at Dallas/Ft. Worth airport shortly before tragedy struck. Kennedy’s smile dazzles nearly as brightly as the sunshine, which, through its shadows, obscures the intricacies of her impeccable features. Though it appears that Jackie greets the camera directly, the actual image shows her eyes veiled as she blinks during the photograph. Though Warhol leaves us with the unmistakable mask of the first lady, his silkscreen engenders a haunting visage, one that strikes us with a clear harbinger of impending catastrophe. Warhol delivers his rendering in a striking and attractive hue of cerulean blue, brighter than most of his Jackies, which usually bear a darker blue or deep violet tone.

    When reflecting upon the origins of Jackie, 1964’s source material, one is reminded of Jackie Kennedy’s perpetually image-bound existence, one which Warhol capitalized on. The nature of the image’s origin reminds one of the implications of a celebrity life; to cease to exist in a mere social context was “the starting point of another life: a media existence, where individual identity was no longer independent and subjective, but rather became everyone’s experience, however simulated. Here the sacrifice became theatre, staging the drama of loss as a spectacle at one collective and personal”(G. Celant. SuperWarhol, Milan, 2003, p. 7). As Jackie’s identity was everyone’s experience, so were her feelings of loss and sadness.

    Warhol zeroes in on this image as a reminder of our collective loss. Much in the way that flashbulb memories stick painfully in our minds as inescapable souvenirs of major tragedies, Warhol’s obsession with Jacqueline Kennedy is a study in repetition. His image derives its power from our own habits of recollection: while we may remember the entire chronology of a traumatic event, it is the force of the static image with which we immediately identify the event in our post-tragedy lives.

    While most of Warhol’s various Jackie images depict the events immediately following the assassination, it is the depiction of her in the present lot that is ultimately the most tragic. As she arrives at the airport in joyous sprits, the quintessential embodiment of a thrilling and thriving presidency, we cannot help but think of her subsequent later suffering, and, though she laughs with the delightful duty of a beloved first lady, she cannot avoid her own fateful heartbreak. So one witnesses the blissful naïveté and tender innocence of the final moments of Camelot.

    Though he immortalized both Taylor and Monroe in their own moments of tragedy, Jackie, 1964 stands apart— it makes it “more possible to see what he was trying to accomplish through his choice of subject matter and techniques”(K. McShine, introduction to Andy Warhol: A Retrospective, New York, 1989, p. 18). Warhol’s choice of celebrities for the subjects of his silkscreens stemmed from the omnipresence of their image already; Monroe’s beauty captured forever the majesty of a life gone by, and Taylor’s idolization by matinee goers gave her a unique status as a star of silkscreen. But Jacqueline Kennedy, in Jackie, 1964, comes to signify an entire expression of American angst—the painful memory of normal life before it was forever changed. Warhol’s techniques mirror our own obsessive revisitations of November 22, 1963; as we stare at the magnification of Jackie’s blithe smile, we wonder what anyone could have done to prevent tragedy and maintain her happiness. Aside from its Pop Art associations, Jackie, 1964 is a mirror of our regret.

    What Warhol accomplishes then, in his multiple reproductions of Kennedy’s print image, is a reflection of American trauma. As our tragedy is mechanically produced in countless media, we dwell upon images of destruction and sadness, yet we also cannot help obsessing over the good life that was. Warhol identifies a moment in history, one where nostalgia, reflection, sympathy, and regret all cross paths. Jackie, 1964 represents the first major shift in American ideology in the 1960s; as Camelot was destroyed and our innocence fell away, we began to see the future with new eyes.

  • Artist Biography

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    Known as the “King of Pop,” Andy Warhol was the leading face of the Pop Art movement in the United States 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 like Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities like 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 a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen
20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Stamped with the Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and numbered "PA 56.117" on the overlap.

$1,000,000 - 1,500,000 

Sold for $1,314,500

Contemporary Art Part I

7 November 2011
New York