Andy Warhol - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Ileana Sonnabend, Paris
    Gian Enzo Sperone, Milan
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, in 1977

  • Exhibited

    Milan, Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta, Gli Anni '60. Le Immagini al Potere, June 21 - September 22, 1996

  • Literature

    R. Crone, Andy Warhol, New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, no. 109, cat. nos. 957, 1126 (illustrated)
    R. Crone, Andy Warhol, Das Bildnerische Werk Andy Warhols, Berlin: Kommissionsvertrieb Wasmuth KG, 1976, no. 118, cat. nos. 957, 1126 (illustrated)
    Gli Anni '60. Le Immagini al Potere, exh. cat., Fondazione Antonio Mazzota, Milan, 1996, p. 99 (illustrated)
    G. Frei, N. Printz, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné Vol. 2A: Paintings and Sculpture 1964-1969, London: Phaidon, 2002, cat. no. 1127, p. 202 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I sat at Le Club one night staring at Jackie Kennedy, who was there in a black chiffon dress down to the floor, with her hair done by Kenneth --- thinking how great it was that hairdressers were now going to dinners at the White House."

    ANDY WARHOL, 1963

    Jackie from 1964 is a defining example of Andy Warhol’s early silkscreen paintings. 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 these particular portrait series during moments of crisis—Marilyn Monroe’s silkscreens appeared shortly after her death, and Taylor’s life-threatening battle with pneumonia preempted her own silkscreens. Warhol found a timeless and elegant subject in the former first lady whose subjection to unprecedented levels of popular exposure following Kennedy’s assassination established her as a paragon of strength and tragedy in American culture. In Jackie, 1964, Warhol arrives at a culmination of his earlier series, exhibiting his mastery of the mechanical reproduction which responds directly to a seminal historic event.

    Catapulted to star status by her husband's election as President of the United States in November 1960, Jackie Kennedy became an inspiration to millions in the optimistic climate of a rejuvenated post-war America. Epitomizing youth, beauty and style, she became the ideal of a wife, mother and First Lady to the nation. In Jackie, 1964, she is shown with an escort at the funeral for her husband on November 25, 1963, three days after his assassination in Dallas, Texas. In extraordinarily solemn grief and intimate despair, the image reveals the new widow with a blank, shocked expression as if the reality of the day's events cannot be absorbed. Part of a group of eight original black and white photographs Warhol selected from a variety of printed sources, first published in the weeks following the assassination, the selections present personal and collective grief in a radically new manner. "Then, for the first time, there were many who experienced the banality of illustrious death, time being measured by the flash: a gasping instant…" (R. Guidieri, "JFK", Andy Warhol: Death and Disasters, 1988-89, exh. cat., Houston: The Menil Collection, p. 29).

    Robert Pincus-Witten has compared the process of replication in Warhol's series to a type of religious rite, "a Mass of repetition, monotonously intoned, unto the heavenly measurelessness inherent to the grid and/or serial format - the same image over and over again, stretching away to infinity." (R. Pincus-Witten, Women of Warhol: Marilyn, Liz and Jackie, New York: C&M Arts, 2000, n.p.) Warhol's aim to de-sensitize the iconic image through repetition is implied here when one realizes that this picture was the central panel of what was once a triptych owned by Ileana Sonnabend. A rare example done in Warhol’s hypnotizing pthalo green, it exerts a powerful sentiment of loss and disturbance. Furthermore, this portrait perfectly encapsulates Warhol's ethic of portraiture as a form of biography. The once smiling idol of lost halcyon tranquility, Jackie Kennedy retells an epic tragedy. Georg Frei and Neil Printz have assessed how Warhol "brought her into close-up, making her the dramatic focus and emotional barometer of the Kennedy assassination, shifting the historical narrative into a series of affective moments or portraits that register the subject over time." (G. Frei and N. Printz (ed.s), The Andy Catalogue Raisonné, Vol. 2A, Paintings and Sculptures 1964-1969, London and New York, 2004, p. 103)

    Beyond the purely iconographic narrative also lies Warhol's groundbreaking interrogation of the power of mass-media and its agents. Rainer Crone, Warhol's inaugural chronicler, described Jackie Kennedy as "the woman whose feelings were reproduced in all the media to such an extent that no better historical document on the exhibitionism of American emotional values is conceivable." (R. Crone, Andy Warhol, New York, 1970, p. 29) Confronted with the atomic conflation of celebrity and death, the progenitor of Pop - Andy Warhol - anaesthetized this zeitgeist through the effects of replication and multiplication, so undermining the manipulative potentiality of mass media. Indeed, the Jackie corpus, epitomized by this outstanding work, is the crescendo to the seminal Death and Disaster works that preceded it. In keeping with his very best work, celebrity, tragedy and the specter of death inhabit every pore of this painting.

    This compelling Jackie masterwork remains a seminal treatise on the emotional conditioning inherent to mass culture. Warhol was disturbed by the media's potential to manipulate, but simultaneously he celebrated the power of the icon. Fame and its agents intoxicated him and he understood celebrity as integral to modern life. Without historical perspective and working immediately after the event, Warhol identified the media's capacity to fix this association between icon and story exceptionally early. The profuse repetition of Jackie's silkscreened portraits mirrors the shattering of moments when time stands still. With the artist's inimitable image simultaneously imitating and subverting the psychological and emotional conditioning inherent to photojournalism, Jackie summates Warhol's aptitude to seize the most potent images of his time and deliver the perfect Twentieth Century history painting. Replicating a lost moment in the stark reality of tonal duality, suffused with both sadness and the immaculate, this Jackie is finally affirmed as the iconic paean to the private individual's struggle within humanity's global tragedy.

  • 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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silkscreen on canvas
20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm.)
Signed and dated twice "Andy Warhol 1964" along the overlap.

$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 

Sold for $3,077,000

Contact Specialist
Zach Miner
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1256

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 15 May 2014 7PM