Andy Warhol - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 16, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
    Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles
    Robert H. Halff, Los Angeles
    John C. Stoller & Co., Minneapolis
    Acquired from the above via Dayton's Gallery 12, Minneapolis by the present owner in August 1979

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Margo Leavin Gallery, Mao, My Mother, and Other Friends, April 3 - May 3, 1975
    Seattle Art Museum; Denver Art Museum, Andy Warhol: Portraits, November 19, 1976 - March 27, 1977
    Milwaukee Art Museum; Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum, Warhol/Beuys/Polke, June 19 - November 15, 1987, no. 17, p. 47 (illustrated, p. 39)
    New York, The Museum of Modern Art; The Art Institute of Chicago; London, Hayward Gallery; Cologne, Museum Ludwig; Milan, Palazzo Reale; Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Andy Warhol: A Retrospective, February 6, 1989 - September 10, 1990, no. 332, p. 315 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    Henry Geldzahler and Robert Rosenblum, Andy Warhol: Portraits of the Seventies and Eighties, exh. cat., Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, 1993, no. 11, pp. 56, 155 (illustrated, p. 57)
    Lothar Romain, Andy Warhol, Munich, 1993, no. 113, p. 190 (illustrated, p. 149)
    Neil Printz and Sally King-Nero, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings and Sculpture, 1970-1974, vol. 3, London, 2010, no. 2678, p. 435 (illustrated, p. 425)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Emerging from a flurry of cerulean brush strokes, Andy Warhol’s 1974 portrait of the iconic British painter David Hockney evinces a bond – both artistic and personal – between two of the 20th century’s most important painters. One of only three paintings Warhol made of the artist, two of which were gifted directly to Hockney, this painting is the first to come to auction. Bold brushstrokes and gestural swathes of finger painting in electric blue, counterpointed by accents of ebullient magenta, create the ground for Warhol’s silkscreened image.

    While David Hockney is paradigmatic of Warhol’s portraits of eminent cultural figures and socialites that he made in the early 1970s, the artist began painting portraits of artists as early as the 1960s. It was during this time that Warhol embarked on his first major series of individual artist portraits known as Portraits of the Artists, made under the auspice of Leo Castelli. Using his screen-printing technique, Warhol articulated photographic images of himself and his contemporaries including Robert Morris, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Larry Poons, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, Lee Bontecou, Donald Judd and Robert Rauschenberg. This initiated a longstanding tendency by Warhol to depict the most groundbreaking creatives who defined the era to which they collectively belonged. Throughout the later part of his career, Warhol would revisit again and again the artists of his own time, depicting Arman, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and others well into the 1980s.

    While the 1960s Castelli portraits were based on heavily cropped photographs that Warhol had acquired from the gallerist, the present portrait of David Hockney crucially elicits a dialogue with Warhol’s own photographic practice. Warhol photographed Hockney on several occasions between 1972 and 1974. The two artists arranged to exchange two canvases by Warhol for a portrait drawing by Hockney. Warhol selected a Polaroid that he took of the artist on a visit to Hockney’s Paris studio on December 2, 1973 as the source for his three silkscreen paintings that would follow. Each of the resulting paintings were created in the 40-inch square format that would become the hallmark of his portraiture oeuvre in the 1970s. Two of these works with a pink and green background would go into Hockney’s personal collection, while the present blue work remained in Warhol’s studio until the Fitermans acquired it five years later. Throughout the following decade, this work would be exhibited extensively at notable shows including Warhol’s traveling retrospective beginning at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1989.

    In the preceding decade, Warhol’s Marilyn, Elvis and Liz paintings appropriated ubiquitous press images of celebrities to emphasize a sense of manufactured distance from the sitter. The present work evidences the actively personal tone that underscores the 1970s portraits as a body of work. As noted by Vincent Fremont, who worked with Warhol from 1969 until the artist's death in 1987, “Photographing his portrait subject was for Andy the best way to capture what he wanted out of his sitters. He quietly told them how to hold their hands or turn their heads” (Vincent Fremont, Andy Warhol: Portraits of the Seventies and Eighties, exh. cat., Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London, 1993, p. 29). Gazing directly into Warhol’s lens, here we encounter Hockney not only as an image but also as a person and a friend. As shown in two graphite portraits Warhol also made of Hockney – one housed in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and another in Tate, London – Warhol viewed his younger protégé with genuine affection that would grow over the years. On March 26, 1981 he would write in his diary, “David’s cute, he really is magic” (Andy Warhol, quoted in Pat Hackett, ed., The Andy Warhol Diaries, New York, 1989, p. 375).

    The playful friendship between the artist and sitter in the present work is also reflected in the tactility of the brushwork and the composition. With an electric blue wash, Hockney’s shoulders have been masked out, emphasizing the central drama of the hand and his facial expression as they emerge from an abstract painterly space. Crucially, Warhol used both brush and finger so that his mark-making is not only traceable, but a dominant feature of the work. The creation of these portraits coincided with the exhibition of his legendary Chairman Mao canvases at Musée Galleria in Paris, which also indulged in expressionistic finger and brush painting and thus introducing a new painterly quality to Warhol’s working method. Seemingly blending Hockney’s trademark messy blonde locks with the surface of the canvas, he seems to refer back to the Abstract Expressionist masters whom he had eschewed in his earlier silkscreen paintings, in order to imbue the work with emotive force. These visual qualities instill the present work with a personal touch that is wholly unique to the Warhol's prolific oeuvre of artist portraits, a career-long preoccupation and investigation for the Pop master.

  • 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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Property from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Collection


David Hockney

signed, titled and dated "DAVID Hockney Andy Warhol Andy Warhol 1974" on the overlap
acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
40 x 40 in. (101.6 x 101.6 cm.)
Executed in 1974.

$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for $1,040,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1278

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 16 May | On View at 432 and 450 Park Avenue