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  • Provenance

    Collection Dominique de Menil, Houston; Collection Frederick W. Hughes,
    New York; Private collection, Sun Valley

  • Literature

    R. Crone, Andy Warhol, New York 1970, p. 298, #292-301; K. McShine, Andy
    Warhol: A Retrospective, New York 1989, p. 310 (illustrated); V. Bockris, Warhol: The
    Biography, London 1989, pp. 281-82, 387; D. Bourdon, Warhol, New York 1989, pp. 263-65; B.
    Colacello, Holy Terror: Warhol Close-Up, New York 1990, pp. 92-95; D. Hickey and C. Schoor,
    All Tomorrow''s Parties: Billy Name''s Photographs of Andy Warhol''s Factory, London 1997, p.
    141 (illustration of the present lot in Warhol’s studio in 1968); M. Francis & M. King, The
    Warhol Look, Pittsburgh 1997, pp. 278-79; S. Chermayeff, "Frederick W. Hughes: Andy
    Warhol''s Man of Style," in J. Smith, ed., Possession Obsession: Andy Warhol and Collecting,
    Pittsburgh, 2002, pp. 104-111; p. 109 (illustration of the present work in the townhouse
    owned and occupied by Andy Warhol from 1967-1987 and then by Frederick W. Hughes until
    2001); G. Frei and N. Printz, eds., Andy Warhol: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and
    Sculpture, 1964-69, Vol. 02B, New York, 2004, Cat. No. 2093.6, p. 387, 395, and 404

  • Catalogue Essay

    Andy must have breathed a sigh of relief as he climbed aboard Mr. Menil's Lear jet that fall for a fast trip to Montreal to see his new self-portraits hanging in the American pavillion at Expo, for this way lay his future and at last he had somebody selling his art who knew what he was doing. (Fred Hughes. V. Bockris, Warhol: The Biography, p. 281)
    The present work, a portrait of the visionary art collector and patron of the arts Dominique de Menil (1908-1997), is one of the first serial portraits on canvas Warhol created in the 1960's and historically one of his most prominent. As one of his earliest private commissioned portraits, conceived in the signature style of his Jackie, Marilyn and Liz portraits and reminiscent of his own early self-portraits, Portrait of Dominique de Menil is also one of Warhol''s most personally significant and meaningful works as its subject, the indomitable Dominique, was as Victor Bockris described her “the biggest collector of Warhols in America” and as such became the artist's single greatest supporter. Wonderfully capturing the energy, passion, and unique personality of this great lady, Warhol''s private portrait of her pays homage to this pivotal figure in his life, and reflects his own personal relationship with her. “I want to note how closely the aesthetic and humanistic sensibility of Dominique de Menil resembles that of Warhol,” (T. Fairbrother, The Work of Andy Warhol, New York, 1989, p. 113).   Upon acquiring Portrait of Dominique de Menil from AndyWarhol, Mrs. de Menil presented it as a gift to the man to whomWarhol owed most of his success, and to whom she herself was absolutely devoted as her own brilliant and adored “son”: Frederick Hughes.The legendary Fred Hughes, Warhol''s princely and imperial Savile Row-suit “Man of Style”, introduced Warhol to Dominique and the rest of the de Menil family (who also commissioned their portraits) in 1967 and went on to become his everastute business manager, advisor and empire builder. Considered her “adopted” son by Mrs. de Menil, and a de facto member of the Menil family by her husband Jean and their children, Hughes was recognized by Mrs. de Menil at a young age for his natural talents, good taste and sharp eye, and she took him under her wing as her protégé, bringing him into her gilded world of privilege and rarefied things. “His sole mentor was Dominique de Menil,” wrote Tommy Hughes of his late brother. “She helped him refine his remarkable eye for talent and quality, and that’s what allowed him to fulfill his childhood dreams in such a grand style.” (introduction to the catalog The Collection of Frederick W. Hughes, New York, 2001)   It was Hughes who boldly took hold of and expandedWarhol''s portrait business, targeting one deal after another for the artist with the rich and famous globally; starting with the present portrait (and others arranged through Mrs. de Menil), and then later hundreds more: “Hughes turned all the de Menil children into Warhol collectors [and] persuaded Dominique de Menil to commission silkscreen paintings of her and [others] in 1968. This was the beginning of Warhol’s lucrative commissioned portrait business, which provided a steady source of income to finance ventures such as Interview magazine and the experimental videos produced by Vincent Fremont. It also provided a handy cover for the five-star social climbing and shopping trips to Europe thatWarhol grew to love. In rapid succession, Hughes set up [after the present de Menil portrait] portrait sittings with Eric de Rothschild, Gianni and Marella Agnelli, Hélène Rochas, São Schlumberger [Dominique''s cousin’s wife], Baroness de Waldner, and Yves St. Laurent,” (B. Colacello, Vanity Fair, August, 1993, p. 159).   Unlike other versions in the series, the present painting is more vivid and in a slightly larger size (as the 2004 Andy Warhol: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Sculpture, 1964-69 notes). More differently and more notably, however, the present work was silkscreened twice byWarhol, instead of once, with its subject rendered in three colors (orange, crimson and lavender) instead of only two. As Warhol’s assistant Gerard Malanga recalled, in reference to the present work specifically: “The double effect in [this particular canvas] was to create a 3-D or cinematic effect.The two colors appear to be orange, but they give the optical effect of being a bit darker, since they are combined with the crimson.The face image was screened once; the screen was cleaned and then used a second time for the second color,” (Gerard Malanga, September, 2007).   Warhol''s assistant Ronnie Cutrone discussed the present lot as “the most appropriate thing you could own of Fred''s." And Hughes'' longtime assistant and biographer Sasha Chermayeff remembered, "Fred loved that piece more than anything else. Of all the things he owned, this was his most favorite." Like the Jackie painting Hughes received fromWarhol, Hughes had the present work placed in a finely carved gold wooden frame despite their unlikely combination, which is included in the present lot. With its emphatically unique and very clear and distinguished provenance, and as a pivotal and seminal painting within Warhol’s portrait oeuvre, Portrait of Dominique represents the confluence of art, business and art patronage at their highest, and is a key link in the Warhol-Hughes-Menil triumvirate that was essential to Warhol’s success.

  • 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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Portrait of Dominique de Menil

early 1969
Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas.
12 x 10 in. (30.5 x 25.4 cm).

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $97,000

Contemporary Art Part II

16 Nov 2007, 10am & 2pm
New York