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  • Literature

    Angell, Andy Warhol Screen Tests: The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, p. 189, for variants
    Éditions Stemmle, Andy Warhol Photography, pp. 94, 96-99; for variants
    Indiana, Andy Warhol Photobooth Pictures, pp. 2, 4, 8, 10, 12, 13, 17

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1964, Holly Solomon, a beautiful New Yorker, avid art-collector and aspiring actress, wished to have her portrait done by master photographer Richard Avedon for stage purposes. "Great artists [were] now doing imagery," she stated in a later interview, "click!-you know, it makes sense to have them do your portrait." However, upon learning of Avedon's fee of $12,000, Solomon decided to look elsewhere. Instead, she thought, "why not ask Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy [...] and somebody else, named Rauschenberg," referring to the artists whose works she and husband, Horace, had already included in their collection.

    The original commission intended for Warhol to silkscreen wallpaper in Solomon's image. However, turned off by Warhol's fee of $6,000, which she found too steep for wallpaper, her portrait was finally executed by Roy Lichtenstein, who portrayed her as a comic-strip protagonist in his painting I...I'm sorry, 1965-66. Delighted with the result, Solomon went to Leo Castelli Gallery, whom at the time represented both Lichtenstein and Warhol, to pay for the commission from Lichtenstein. "This is the money for the portrait," she told Castelli's assistant, David Whitney. Misguided, Whitney believed Solomon had changed her mind about the Warhol portrait, and called Warhol to let him know that Solomon'sinterest in having her portrait done by him was renewed, this time as a silkscreen on canvas, a technique that Warhol had already gained fame for in his portraits of Pop Culture icons Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. By the time Solomon got back home, Warhol called, "Oh, Hol, " he said excitedly,
    we're going to do the portrait." Delighted by the unexpected turn of events, Solomon complied. All that was then required was a photograph on which the final portrait would be based.

    The two met on 42nd street, famous for its Broadway spectacles and a befitting location for Warhol's own fascination with glamour and Solomon's aspiration as an actress. Warhol, Solomon recalled, was picky about the photobooth: "he did pick precisely the photobooth, and he explained to me that he wanted dark and light to be quite clear." After spending a brief amount of time with Solomon, Warhol left Solomon alone in the booth. Sitting and posing for the camera with no instructions was initially tedious for Solomon. However, having taken classes with Lee Strasberg, the legendary acting teacher, Solomon began drawing from a great mental catalogue of poses and facial expressions. For hours she alternated between smiling, laughing, pouting, demurring, seducing, flirting, flipping her hair, turning her head, looking askance, clasping her hands, and stroking her coat. The final product, an inventory of roles that Solomon inhabited with vigor and creativity, was handed over to Warhol to chose for the final image.

    The timing of the work is of importance for it pre-empted the Women's Liberation movement of the 1970s. "In the 60s there were rules," Solomon recalled, "if you were an intelligent woman, you were an upset woman. Truly upset. You had to be thin. We grew up with all these rules." And yet, in the body of work presented in the current lot, the opinionated Sarah Lawrence graduate was given a tabula rasa to freely exude as much energy in any direction she wanted, free of judgment. Without instructions and expectations, she allowed her every accessible self to emerge in an expressive andcandid mosaic. Indeed, of Warhol's final portrait Solomon stated, "It really is an icon of this liberated woman, who is just trying very hard to be liberated." In Solomon's case, it was her unfulfilled dream of reaching Hollywood superstardom that she was able to unleash. "I wanted to be Brigitte Bardot," she mused. "I wanted to be Jeanne Moreau, Marilyn Monroe all packed into one." In the current lot, viewers find her channeling each one.

    The friendship between Warhol and Solomon lasted until Warhol's death in 1987. In a eulogizing letter, Solomon fondly remembered Warhol and the influence he had had on her throughout their friendship. "His greatest gift," she stated, "was giving people what they thought they wanted or trying to do." The current lot is a vivid testament to that assertion.

  • 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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97

Holly Solomon

1963-1964
Seven unique gelatin silver photobooth prints.
Each 7 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (19.7 x 3.8 cm); 7 3/4 x 12 1/2 in. (19.7 x 31.8 cm) overall.
One print initialed 'T.J.H.' by Timothy J. Hunt of the Andy Warhol Foundation in pencil on the verso; each print with Estate of Andy Warhol stamps on the verso.

Estimate
$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $74,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
[email protected]
+ 1 212 940 1245

Photographs

4 April 2012
New York