Andy Warhol - Contemporary Art London Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Leo Castelli, New York; Collection Preston Carter, Dallas; Private collection, Florida; Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, New York

  • Exhibited

    Pasadena Art Museum, May 11 – June 21, 1970; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, July 4 – September 6, 1970; Abbe, Eindhover, October 9 – November 22, 1970; Paris, Museé de la Art Moderne, December 10, 1970 – January 21, 1971; London, Tate Gallery, February 17 – March 28, 1971; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, April 26 – June 6, 1971, Andy Warhol

  • Literature

    J. Coplans and R. Morphet, Andy Warhol, London, 1971, cat no. 60 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Within the scope of art history many artists have been captivated by the concept of portraiture, indulging themselves into the artistic genre from the early Renaissance right through to Impressionism and Contemporary art. Within the same timeframe, there are those artists who have executed works of art, where the concept of Portraiture has been somewhat reversed and where the sitter has become the ‘self’—the artist. From Rembrandt, Van Gogh to Frieda Kahlo, no artist has taken the idea of the self-portrait as far as Andy Warhol, whose image, identity and cultural persona are completely bound to his art making, turning his Self-Portraits into some of his most interesting works within his artistic oeuvre.
    Known for his depictions of stage and media personas, such as Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor in the early 60s, Warhol had come to discover himself as a possible subject-matter for his art. This realisation would prove to be a turning point in his artistic career, through which he would find himself becoming an increasingly significant icon in his own visual repertoire. Enigmatic, enduring with an undisputable intensity, this early Self Portrait from 1966 was part of a series of Self-Portraits that would lay the groundwork for his developing art directions, which were to emerge in the following years up until his untimely death in 1987.
    With its staged pose and mystifying gaze, Warhol has portrayed himself in a mood of contemplation, as if deliberately caught in an intense thought process, whilst his gaze only partially meets any observer of the painting. Through his play with ‘chiaroscuro’ Self-Portrait is an impressive example of Warhol’s publicized and private persona—a distinction that with his growing artistic success would appear to become increasingly blurred. His use of the shadow, disguising one side of his face suggests a sort of shield, curtaining off his private self, visually expressing an urge of trying to maintain a division between his two sides. Whilst filling almost the entire pictorial field with his face, Warhol’s gesture and look are completely measured and calculated, where the position of his hand does not seem to ground his face, but moreover articulates it with an eccentric quality. Exuding a powerful image of the artist himself, the painting simultaneously reflects Warhol’s expanding social position and status within the growing contemporary art world.
    Having produced three series of Self-Portraits during the 1960s, the first two based on the photo-booth images, this series is the first of its kind. With its saturated colors and neutral low-key synthetic hues, Andy Warhol has for the first time, since discovering himself as artistic ‘fodder’ portrayed himself in a larger form and of a more superior quality. His pensive gaze has provided this series with a significance of stature, elevating Warhol, the artist as the subject of the painting. His ambiguous pose and mysterious gaze is for Warhol a truthful account of his image and identity at a time when his stellar rise to fame and celebrity was being established, becoming increasingly aware that his own image fascinated people nearly, if not equally as much as his art.
    Warhol’s artistic practices throughout his career had presented the art world with new challenges and dilemmas to overcome. Having coined the famous phrase “in the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes” was never an idea that would apply to the artist or person who we know as Warhol—‘The God of Pop Art’. Having publicized his image to the extent of people wanting to hang it on their walls, Warhol more than any other artist before him had remodeled the pre-configured notion of Self-Portraiture. His image, identity and cultural role were to be inextricably bound to his art making, one becoming as important as the other. From the early Self - Portraits, this work is a prime example of Warhol’s maturing ‘self’, both as artist and individual, where the surface becomes the platform of a reciprocal relationship between Warhol the public artist and Warhol the private person. In other words, it is an artistic dialogue between his two ‘selfs’, where the ironic layering of subject and object results in his Self - Portrait.The ultimate paradox however, lies in the fact that Warhol through his series of Self-Portraits has allowed for himself to become the subject of interpretation and discourse, where the archetypal observer, suddenly becomes observed.

  • 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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Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas.
22 3/8 x 22 3/8 in. (56.8 x 56.8 cm).
Signed and dated “Andy Warhol 1966” and stamped with Authentication Board seal and numbered “A106.042” on the overlap.

£1,000,000 - 1,500,000 

Sold for £1,812,000

Contemporary Art

22 June 2007, 4pm & 5pm