Andy Warhol - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, March 3, 2023 | Phillips
  • “With Warhol’s gallery of contemporary faces, the decade of 1970s high society is instantly captured. In his glittering realm, light and shadow are bleached out by the high wattage of spotlights; colors seem selected from the science-fiction rainbow invented by the likes of Baskin-Robbins; and brushstrokes offer an extravagant, upper-income virtuosity which appears to be quoting, for conspicuous consumption, a bravura tradition that extends from Hals through de Kooning.”
    —Robert Rosenblum

    Executed in 1972, the present three works by Andy Warhol, titled Karen Lerner, are vibrant and colourful representations of the female journalist, Karen Lerner, who was one of the first women reporters at Life, Time and Newsweek magazines.i With each depiction of Lerner, Warhol is able to skilfully capture the differing aspects of her personality through the use of varying colour palettes and facial expressions. Lerner is captured with a dynamic and lively smile in two works and a more sombre profile view executed in a deep maroon palette.


    Andy Warhol, born in 1928 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, was a pioneering figure in the of Pop Art Movement. The 1960s were a pivotal moment for the artist, producing his first Pop paintings based on famous comics and advertisements.ii His exploration of the themes of capitalism and celebrity expanded into what we now know as his most iconic silkscreen works, depicting famous celebrities such as Marylin Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, and many others. As the decade progressed, so did Warhol’s creation method and process. During the end of the 1960s and early 1970s the artist began using a Polaroid camera to document his everyday life and incorporated into his working method by capturing his famous sitters’ portraits.


    The depiction of royalty, the elite, and the wealthy in the form of portraiture has always played a significant part in art history. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Diego Velazquez, John Singer Sargent, and many others come to mind when reminiscing the great portrait painters. Andy Warhol, is a great addition to this list as he “succeeded virtually single-handed[ly]…in resurrecting from near extinction that endangered species of grand-style portraiture of people important, glamorous, or notorious enough – whether statesmen, actresses, or wealthy patrons of the arts – to deserve to leave their human traces in the history of painting.”iii


    The present works of Karen Lerner are a magnificent example of how Warhol was able to capture his sitters with his Polaroid camera and transform them into vibrant and electrifying representations of their personalities with the silkscreen printing method.



    i “Karen G. Lerner”, Valley News, 3 May 2019, online.

    ii “Andy Warhol,” The Andy Warhol Museum, online.

    iii Robert Rosenblum, “Andy Warhol: Court Painter to the 70s” in Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70s, David Whitney, ed., New York, 1979, p. 9

    • Provenance

      The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York
      Jane Holzer
      Gagosian Gallery, New York
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    • Exhibited

      Corpus Christi, Art Museum of South Texas, Works in a Series: Johns, Stella, Warhol, 4 October - 26 November 26, 1972, pp. 29, 32, 46 (illustrated, p. 32, erroneously dated 1971)

    • Literature

      Georg Frei and Neil Printz, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Sculptures, 1970-1974, Vol. 03, New York, 2010, nos. 2196, 2198-2199, p. 117 (illustrated, pp. 114-115)

    • 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.


      View More Works


Three works: (i-iii) Karen Lerner

(i) signed, stamped with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. and the Estate of Andy Warhol stamps, numbered and dated 'PO50.596 Andy Warhol 72' on the overlap
(ii) stamped with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. and the Estate of Andy Warhol stamps and numbered 'PO50.602' on the overlap
(iii) stamped with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. and the Estate of Andy Warhol stamps and numbered 'PO50.601' on the overlap

(i) acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen
(ii-iii) silkscreen ink on linen

each 76.2 x 71.1 cm (30 x 27 7/8 in.)
Executed in 1972.

Full Cataloguing

£250,000 - 350,000 

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 3 March 2023