Andy Warhol - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Mr. Ross Friedmann, Miami
    Galerie 1900-2000, Paris
    Hilman Holland Gallery, Atlanta
    Jason McCoy Gallery, New York
    Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    New York, Jason McCoy Gallery, Andy Warhol: Self-Portraits, January 30- March 1, 1990
    New York, Van de Weghe Fine Art, Andy Warhol: Self Portraits 1963-1986, April 20 - May 27, 2005

  • Literature

    Andy Warhol: Self-Portraits, exh. cat., New York: Jason McCoy Gallery, 1990, no. 3 (illustrated)
    G. Frei and N. Prinze, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné of Painting and Sculpture 1964-1969, vol. 2B, cat. no 1960, 2004, pp. 305, 312 (illustrated)
    Andy Warhol: Self Portraits 1963-1986, exh. cat., New York: Van de Weghe Fine Art, 2005, pp. 50-51(illustrated on inside cover)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Always omit the blemishes- they’re not part of the good picture you want.”
    ANDY WARHOL, 1977

    Few of Andy Warhol’s works have sparked more critical disagreement than his many self-portraits. While his celebrity portraits were a result of his affinity for the famous,
    and his soup cans and objective portraiture sprung from the consumerist commentary that has lent him his Pop titles, the intent of the self-portraits is more mysterious. They are even paradoxical in their nature: while they present to us an intimate view of the artist himself, they are also simultaneously self-effacing and performative. Warhol’s elusive persona, propagated by both himself and his work, comes through on the canvas as it did in reality: controlled. The present lot, Self-Portrait, 1967 is from the second series of Warhol’s self- pictures. We see in it a dazzling combination of Warhol’s obsessions and preoccupations.

    Though his first self-portrait was commissioned in 1963, it would be a trope that he would return roughly every five years in his career. Warhol’s earliest self portraits were executed just before he verged into the realm of filmmaking; consequently, they display qualities common to most of his celebrity portraiture at the time—his silkscreens are posed glamor-shots, with his brush offering up a variety of different colors in the final product. In these early self-portraits, we see Warhol recognizing his newfound celebrity status, imitating his most famous subjects in a somewhat satirical, somewhat genuine attempt of his own.

    Yet, as Warhol found himself more and more entrenched in filmmaking in the mid-1960s, his work began to exhibit more nuanced and more restrained features than it had in the past. Suddenly, Warhol was concentrating on single images as opposed to the multiple silkscreens that mark his earlier work. In addition, Warhol was venturing into monochromatic painting, with a variety of violets and cadmium reds taking center stage. We can presume that it was Warhol’s extensive work with the filmstrip that inspired this more introspective scale, a tribute not unlike Lichtenstein’s dedication to the portrayal of the comic strip. In addition, Warhol began to experiment with photos of celebrities that were more candid than posed, starting with the many photos of Jackie Kennedy both before and after her husband’s assassination.

    It is precisely at this moment that Warhol’s present Self-Portrait, 1967 was executed. In the vein of the “Superstars” that he manufactured behind his lens, Warhol paints
    himself more as an unwilling recipient of fame than as a cinematic sycophant. We observe Warhol’s boyish face in three-quarters profile, shying away from the lens of the
    camera. The image itself is one of the rarest self-portraits in Warhol’s oeuvre, perhaps because Warhol’s projected public image was nothing at all like the sheepish young man in the picture. However, the resemblance to his private persona—insecure, introverted, and self-conscious—is uncanny. Perhaps Warhol thought the picture too revealing, too intimate, and that is the reason why he produced very few of them.

    The shadowed blacks of the silkscreen create a figure that is sanitized, free from any blemishes, the glowing red cadmium allowing a portrait of perfect youth. Warhol’s
    own promotion of sanitizing his portraits sprung from the ideal that blemishes are transitory; they do not give insight into the soul of the subject, therefore they are
    unnecessary to present in portraiture. In this regard, Warhol does not deny the true reality of his subject (here, himself), but rather he allows the true essence of the sitter to shine through unobstructed. Perhaps this is in perfect keeping with the image of celebrity that Warhol wanted to project: “The bold, jarring colors called attention to this face while simultaneously canceling out most of his recognizable features. The self-portraits offered no detailed information about either his physiognomy or his psychological state; instead, they present him as a detached, shadowy, and elusive voyeur.” (D. Bourdon, Warhol, New York, 1995, p. 250) Warhol knew that the real factor behind maintaining celebrity was not transparency, but utter obscurity. Only then could an aura of mystery surrounding the the public figure take root.

    The movement towards reds and single film stills was seminal for Warhol, for he began to explore his subjects not as two-dimensional characters replicated ad infinitum in the media, but as human beings caught in the crossroads of a totally public existence. By 1967, Warhol had achieved this status as well, enough for his attempted murder the next year to be labeled an “assassination”. But the present lot reminds of us of his continuing fascination with himself as a subject, mainly with one remarkable phenomenon: as the world changed, he remained the same.

  • 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
8 x 8 in. (20.3 x 20.3 cm.)
Signed and dated "Andy Warhol 1967" along the overlap; further stamped along the overlap with The Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board Inc., and numbered A109.025.

$600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for $725,000

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Zach Miner
Head of Sale
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Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York 16 May 2013 7pm