Andy Warhol - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Tuesday, February 9, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, France

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘There is a close relationship between flowers and convicts. The fragility and delicacy of the former are of the same nature as the brutal insensitivity of the latter. Should I have to portray a convict – or a criminal – I shall so bedeck him in flowers that, as he disappears beneath them, he will himself become a flower, a gigantic and new one.’ (Jean Genet as quoted in M. Lobek ‘In Transitition: Warhol’s Flowers’ in Andy Warhol Flowers, New York: Ekyn Maclean, 2012, n.p.)

    Andy Warhol’s Flowers are an iconic series in oeuvre the pop artist. Flowers (Four Yellow), 1964 is a brilliant example of Warhol’s most remarkable themes: serialisation, beauty and creation of immortal icons. Placed on a black background, the four yellow flowers are swallowed up in the darkness. The conception of Flowers overlapped with Thirteen Most Wanted Men, a controversial mural of criminals’ photos that Warhol created for the 1964 World’s Fair. Warhol himself noticed the connection between flowers and felons: ‘Mr Golden (the printer) make in black + white line sort of / make like my 13 most wanted men’. (Frei and Printz, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, vol.02A:293). Viewed under this light, the flowers seem to assume funerary connotations.

    However, Flowers represent also a rupture from the previous dark series and mark the beginning of a new, brighter era. It was Warhol’s friend, Henry Geldzahler, curator at the Metropolitan Museum, who encouraged him to produce a fresh series of works. Geldzahler remembers saying to Warhol: 'Enough death and disaster, Andy, it's time again for life. ‘What do you mean’, [Andy] said. I serendipitously picked a magazine off the floor and flipped it to a two-page advertisement with a colour photograph of flowers.' (H. Geldzahler, Making it New: Essays, Interviews and Talks, New York, 1994, p. 39). The photograph, published in June 1964 issue of Modern Photography, was taken by the executive editor Patricia Caulfield. A collection of the Flowers paintings was exhibited at the prestigious Leo Castelli Gallery in late 1964 and marked a career milestone for Warhol. The exhibition sold out within days and Flowers became his most celebrated series: they are an eternal reminder of Warhol’s artistry not only to define beauty but also to make a simple object a fantastic, ever-lasting icon.

  • 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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Flowers (Four Yellow)

acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
image: 25.4 x 21.6 cm (10 x 8 1/2 in.)
overall: 35.6 x 32.5 cm (14 x 12 8/10 in.)

Signed 'Andy Warhol' lower right. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Andy Warhol Authentication Board. This work is registered under the identification number A103.095.

£100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for £110,500

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 10 February 2016 2pm