Andy Warhol - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York
    Mugrabi Collection, New York
    Anon. sale; Sotheby’s, New York, 11 May 2006, lot 312
    Acquired at the above sale by the previous owner

  • Exhibited

    London and New York, Gagosian Gallery, Andy Warhol: B & W Paintings, Ads and Illustrations 1985-1986, February-March 2002, p. 16 (illustrated)
    Monoco, Grimaldi Forum, Super Warhol, July-August 2003, no. 247, p. 484 (illustrated)

  • Literature

    C. Stuckey, ed., Andy Warhol: Heaven and Hell Are Just One Breath Away! Late Paintings and
    Related Works, 1984-1986
    , New York, 1992 p. 47 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    American Pop artist Andy Warhol has long superseded the fifteen minutes of fame he famously allocated for everyone else. An institutional and cultural icon with an artistic process steeped with overt wit, attuned perception and clever tact, Warhol is akin to everything modern and avant-garde in the twentieth century. Discovering beauty and meaning in mass culture – from advertisements to consumer brands to celebrities and the news – Warhol’s process exceeded beyond visual art, encompassing a lifestyle and process extending into the realm of life-long performance. As such, Warhol has become the predecessor to the great contemporary artists today through his innovative business strategies of self-promotion, branding and a factory-based studio. Beatle Boots, painted in 1986, is a significant work in Warhol’s expansive œuvre. Created at the very end of his career, the 1980s proved to be a highly productive decade for Warhol. With the gift of hindsight, the qualities imbedded in the present lot reflect a rather ominous yet articulate achievement. The process, the motifs and the themes that emerge from the monochromatic canvas are wholeheartedly Warholian.

    Warhol popularized serigraphy in the sixties and became synonymous with the process throughout his career. The technique allowed for great versatility, excessive repetition and a visual flatness which were all qualities Warhol revered in popular imagery and appropriated for his own work. Warhol has sourced imagery from a plethora of sources from brand logos to celebrity headshots, however, for the series Black + White Paintings (to which Beatle Boots belongs), Warhol specifically sought the crude, monochrome advertisements he had collected and archived from newspapers decades before. There was an attractive wealth of possibilities that the newsprint advertisements had, despite their inherently rudimentary appearance. The attributes of the original image source translated perfectly with the silk-screened process. "The newspaper ads that most interested Warhol were graphically crude and terribly direct – aimed at the lowest common denominator, and delivered with maximum force and economy" (Andy Warhol: A Retrospective, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989, p. 15)

    The advertisement in the present lot, which reads: "Fans – Beatle Boots are Here!" had been sourced by Warhol from a 1960s newspaper advertisement during the height of Beatlemania. The boots, designed specifically for the Beatles, were an amalgamation of the Chelsea ankle boot with the "Cuban heel" of a flamenco boot and were instantly disseminated into wider fashion and culture with the popularity of the British group. By the 1960s, the boots had become quintessentially evocative of the band and without a doubt, appealed to Warhol on an iconographic level like the Coca-Cola bottles and the tomato soup cans. Footwear as a motif has had a significant role in Warhol’s personal history. His first commercial job was creating illustrations for the shoe company I. Miller in the fifties, and the motif was resurrected in the early 1980s with diamond dust. With Beatle Boots harking back to Warhol’s early advertisements for I. Miller, the motif and process have come full circle.

    Consumerism, mass-culture and celebrity are themes integral to Warhol’s philosophy with Beatle Boots embodying all three. Warhol, transforming a minute newspaper advertisement into a billboard scale, simplifies the overall visual impact while elevating the motif. For the works in the Black + White series, the advertisements of the 1950s and 60s in particular appealed to Warhol as they were lettered and drawn by hand. Warhol later revealed that, "the process of doing work in commercial art was machine-like, but the attitude had feeling to it." (Ibid., p. 459) By the eighties, the precision of line achieved by technology had displaced the more artistic nature of advertising with which Warhol had begun his career. Beatle Boots, as a monochromatic, large-scale silkscreen, synthesizes all the recurring themes in Warhol’s prolific artistic career.

  • 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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Beatle Boots (Negative)

synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas
203.2 x 182.9 cm (80 x 72 in )
Stamped twice by the Estate of Andy Warhol and three times with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. stamps and numbered twice ‘PA10.558’ on the overlap.

£550,000 - 650,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

14 February 2013