Andy Warhol - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Video

    ANDY WARHOL Nine Jackies, 1964

    The events that transpired on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, when John F. Kennedy was assasinated, presented Andy Warhol with a jarring opportunity. Warhol sought out the various images of Jackie Kennedy before and after the assassination. The images that Warhol began to silkscreen—eight in total—were drawn from a variety of sources, among them Life Magazine and several prominent newspapers. In this way, the images of Jackie that Warhol chose to work with were already familiar to many Americans—a recognition that magnified their significance for the viewer of the paintings. This was one of Warhol's legendary skills, possessing an acute sensitivity in identifying and employing an image as a readymade icon.

  • Provenance

    The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York
    Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, 1990
    Sale: Sotheby’s, New York, Contemporary Art Part I, November 15, 1995, lot 25
    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Andy Warhol - Retrospektiv, July 2 – September 19, 1993; Stuttgart, Württembergischer Kunstverein, November 13 , 1993 – February 6, 1994
    Seoul, Ho-Am Art Museum, Andy Warhol: Pop Art’s Superstar, August – October 1994
    Zurich, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Jingle Bells, December 11, 1994 – January 7, 1995

  • Literature

    G. Frei and N. Printz, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné; Paintings and Sculpture 1964-1969, New York, 2004, pp. 131, 145, cat. no. 960 (illustrated)
    Z. Felix, Andy Warhol: Retrospective, Hamburg, Deichtorhallen; Stuttgart, Württembergischer Kunstverein, 1994, p. 6 9 (illustrated)
    Ho-Am Art Museum, Andy Warhol: Pop Art’s Superstar, Seoul, 1994, p. 41 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Andy Warhol’s feelings after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, concerning the national tragedy itself were, at the very least, complex. The assassination was a media frenzy of historic proportions, the seemingly endless coverage of the murder and its aftermath assaulting the daily life of almost every American. Indeed, the event produced some of our most enduring and moving images: John F. Kennedy Jr.’s salute at his father’s funeral, the flashbulb moment of Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination, and of course, the newspaper and magazine pictures of Jacqueline Kennedy, both smiling innocently in the moments before her husband’s death and brandishing a heartbreaking mask of mourning in the hours and days following. In Nine Jackies, 1964, Warhol’s method of production and his subject matter reached an unprecedented spontaneity of purpose, as the repetitive image on his canvas bears a reflection of the internal and external lament of America. Consequently, we behold a poignant work of moving pathos, where the psychology of the canvas matches our own.

    It was at this time that Warhol chose to redefine the concept of “popular culture” entirely. No longer would his subject matter consist of simple household imagery but it would address the omnipresence of news coverage and celebrity. More specifically, Warhol began to zero in on several specific celebrities and news-media images of considerable power. First and foremost, his multiple venerations of Marilyn Monroe struck a deep cord of nostalgia for their observers, generating an emotional connection that Warhol had not previously achieved in his work. Elsewhere, Warhol chose to immortalize destruction for its shock value—his early paintings of the gory outcomes of car crashes and atomic bombs provided an element of brutal terror for the viewer.

    The events that transpired on November 22, 1963 in Dallas presented Warhol with a jarring opportunity. The press covered the events leading up to and directly following the shooting with astounding dedication; soon, images of the President’s body were on display in nearly every news venue in the country, ripe subject matter for Warhol and his recent forays into images of tragedy. Veering away from this more explicit avenue, Warhol sought out the various images of Jackie Kennedy before and after
    the assassination, encompassing the time from her arrival at Dallas/Ft. Worth airport to the expressionless shock of her veiled face during the funeral procession. The images that Warhol began to silkscreen—eight in total—were drawn from a variety of sources, among them Life Magazine and several prominent newspapers. Most images were not unique to their publication, instead, they emerged from a finite pool of images that were infinitely reproduced. In this way, the images of Jackie that Warhol chose to work with were already familiar to many Americans—a recognition that magnified their significance for the viewer of the paintings. This was one of Warhol’s legendary skills, possessing an acute sensitivity in identifying and employing an image as a readymade icon.

    Apart from the images contained within the actual picture, Warhol’s method of production was in itself a reflection of the media’s culture of imitation. Having opened the Factory in 1962, Warhol had already applied the economics of industry to the production of his art. The silkscreen process was a microcosm of this efficiency: Warhol would select an image, augment it in size, use glue to trace the intricacies of the image, then roll ink or paint across its surface, leaving an impression. Once the silkscreen was produced, Warhol would make multiple impressions of the same image. The differentiations were sometimes slight and sometimes drastic, and were dependent upon a great many factors including the amount of pigment used, residue from previous use, and the variable nature of the surface of the picture. The images, in their different
    incarnations, resemble our own: mutable in each of our perceptions, yet identical in their content.

    Despite his proclaimed nonchalance during events of national tragedy, Warhol’s Nine Jackies, 1964, is a stirring tribute to his sensitivity towards a woman in mourning. The present lot first presents its viewer with a mood—the dominating hues of deep blue set the stage for a portrait of profound emotion. In fact, the same cerulean blue would prove to dominate Warhol’s production during this critical period; producing his Electric Chairs, portraits of Marilyn and Ethel Scull– a patron of the artist, as well as his self-portraits in this deeply emotive color.

    The history of Nine Jackies, 1964, “as with Multiplied Jackies (1964)[…] reflects the way in which the Jackie paintings were produced as elements in a series that might be variously arranged, combined, and dispersed.” (G. Frei, N. Printz, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné; Paintings and Sculptures 1964-1969, vol. 02A, New York, 2002, p. 143). In keeping with Warhol’s practice of re-combining Jackies depending on his needs, the present lot is offered as nine portraits framed in a unified arrangement, all of its elements merged as a single work by The Andy Warhol Foundation in 1990. This modular quality is detected in Nine Jackies, 1964, as nine different and connected canvasses, each portrait revealing a textural variation, in accordance with the chance inherent in Warhol’s silkscreening process. And yet, they appear harmonized– allowing us to witness a beautiful symmetry, elegantly structured, and fitting the poise of its subject.

    Drawn from the pages of a magazine, Jacqueline Kennedy stands in silent mourning during the passing of her slain husband’s coffin on the date of his state funeral, November 25, 1963. Though her children accompany her at her feet and a marine flanks her at her side, Warhol tightens the frame and focuses only on the widow in his image, her face expressing terrifyingly little. In Warhol’s framing, Jackie’s face is a mask of emotional paralysis, with hints of bitterness, sorrow, and shocks. Her veil is turned upwards, exposing her face to the lenses of a multitude of photographers, signifying a sort of surrender, as if she has embraced the years of profound sadness that will follow. Furthermore, the image that Warhol has chosen to utilize presents Jackie from a lower-right angle, elevating her state of mourning above the viewer’s gaze. The gradients of color also vary substantially from one image to the next. Jackie’s detail ranges from quite saturated, as in the image at left center, to more sparse, as in the image at the lower right-hand corner. Yet each of these variations has its virtue: in the more saturated frames, we receive the fullness of Warhol’s black ink, intensifying pathos even in Jackie’s, hair, deep set eyes, and shadow below her chin. In contrast, the more lightly printed portraits give us a unique portrayal of her fragility, the lack of fullness corresponding with her pain and loss of her husband just three days before.

    Jackie’s nine separate frames is a replica of our own methods of memory: we remember the same moment in much different iteration—in the newspaper, on TV, from discussions at the breakfast table, and from a collection of many more indiscernible sources. One could even argue that Jackie’s image itself is only a vessel, an index for this mode of recollection: “Warhol’s works are ultimately not so much specifically about either Jackie or the assassination as they are about its coverage by the media, which was relentlessly repetitive. Warhol reflected upon that obsessive media attention—and the tension between engagement and indifference— through this series, even as he capitalized upon the public’s lasting fascination with America’s most glamorous and traumatized widow.” (J. Spring, Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune, San Antonio, 2012, p. 17).

    However, when seen from a different perspective, Nine Jackies, 1964, is also an ode to fortitude in the face of disaster. Though neither hope nor optimism has yet returned to Jackie’s face in the midst of the tragedy that envelops her, we can discern strength behind her tears. Neither Warhol nor America abandoned Jacqueline Kennedy in the coming years, following her every effort to rebuild her life both in her public image and in the arms of Aristotle Onassis. She eventually became an international symbol of resilience, achieving temporary happiness until fate intervened again, widowing her for a second time in 1975. She spent the remaining twenty years of her life as quiet ambassador of determination, finding fulfillment as an editor and respected public figure. In short, she achieved the contentment that Warhol’s portrait ever so subtly promises.

    The present lot stands apart from the iconography of Warhol’s former subjects, treating its subject with understanding sensitivity. Warhol’s previous preference of actors and actresses as the subjects of his silkscreens stemmed from the immediacy and omnipresent quality of their image; Marilyn Monroe’s beauty forever captured the majesty of a life gone by, and Elizabeth Taylor’s status as matinee idol gave her a unique standing as a star of the silkscreen. In Nine Jackies, 1964, however, Jacqueline Kennedy comes to signify a universal expression of resilience in the face of great personal loss.

  • 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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Nine Jackies

acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, on nine canvases
overall: 60 x 48 in. (152.4 x 121.9 cm)
Each respectively stamped by the Estate of Andy Warhol and numbered PA 56.135, 56.136, 56.138, 56.139, 56.142, 56.144, 56.149, 56.150, 56.151 on the reverse.

$10,000,000 - 15,000,000 

Sold for $12,402,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

15 November 2012
New York