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  • During the mid-1950s, Andy Warhol’s fascination with fashion, glamour, and commercial reproduction inspired a sequence of lavish shoe portraits, each named after a stylish celebrity. The Italian actress Anna Magnani was one of many voguish icons to whom Warhol dedicated a heel, and as was typical for Warhol, his representation to her was formed only by the glitzy persona he saw on television, as the two did not have a personal connection or friendship.

     

    In 1956 Warhol exhibited a small handful of these works at The Bodley Gallery in the now legendary Golden Slipper Show, a moment which marked his transition from commercial illustrator—drawing shoes for advertising or promotion—to a fine artist. In the present work, Warhol adorns Anna Magnani with gold and silver leaf, underscoring the irresistibility and glamorous lifestyle of the high-profile star. Anna Magnani and his other sparkling shoes propelled Warhol into the public eye, as the early works resonated immediately with contemporaneous audiences on account of the familiar names they were constantly exposed to during the celebrity boom of the 1950s.

    "I see art in everything. Your shoes. That car. This coffee cup."
    —Andy Warhol

    Shoes would remain a central topic for Warhol, and he notably revisited the subject in the 1980s, the last decade of his life, with the celebrated Diamond Dust Shoe series. Though the subtle and glittering colors Warhol applies to Anna Magnani are a far cry from his later vibrant silkscreens, Anna Magnani serves as one of the rare early demonstrations of Warhol’s ambition, acting as a prelude to the prominent themes he would continue to explore for the duration of his career.

    • Provenance

      Estate of Reid K. Miles, Los Angeles, California (gifted from the artist)
      Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco, California, 1993, lot 2758
      Estate of Richard A. Lorenz, Berkeley, California (acquired at the above sale)
      Bonhams, San Francisco, November 19, 2007, lot 1118
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • 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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210

Anna Magnani

signed "andy Warhol" lower right and titled "Anna Magnani" lower center; stamped by the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board, Inc. and numbered "9115.083" on the reverse of the original backing board
gold leaf, ink, watercolor and collaged embossed silver foil medallion on wove paper
16 1/8 x 22 1/2 in. (41 x 57.2 cm)
Executed circa 1955.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$70,000 - 100,000 

Sold for $201,600

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021