Andy Warhol - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Friday, March 8, 2024 | Phillips

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  • Warhol’s series Ladies & Gentlemen is distinguished among his prolific oeuvre for being one of the largest, most ambitious, and most lucrative commissions in his career. The series was originally commissioned by Italian dealer Luciano Aselmino in 1974, and in time would consist of 268 paintings, approximately 65 drawings and collages. Yet for its extensive account of over 14 sitters, the Ladies & Gentlemen series is among Warhol’s least-known body of work. This can arguably be attributed to the unprecedented and under-represented identity of the sitters, giving voice to a largely marginalised sub-culture that had blossomed in New York.


    The present work Ladies & Gentlemen (Wilhelmina Ross), depicts a portrait of Wilhelmina Ross, who was originally left unnamed. Warhol appears to have been the most captivated by Ross as she appears to be the subject in 52 of his original Polaroids and 73 paintings. As part of the broader Polaroid portrait series, this work stands as an empowering example of Warhol’s investigation into contemporary femininity and is in line with the iconic portraits of Marylin Monroe and Liz Taylor.


    Ross’ name was revealed by chance after Gagosian’s 1997 exhibition of Ladies & Gentlemen works. The Warhol Foundation received a call from Jimmy Camicia, who was the founder of the underground drag theatre company Hot Peaches, informing them that Ross, one of their most popular performers, is depicted in the present work. Wilhelmina Ross was originally born Douglas Mitchell Hunter in Kansas City, Missouri, and changed her name to be a mix of the modelling agency Wilhelmina and Warhol’s friend Diana Ross.i


    “Drag queens are living testimony to the way women used to be, the way some people still want them to be, and the way some women will actually want to be. Drags are ambulatory archives of ideal movie star womanhood. They perform a documentary service, usually consecrating their lives to keeping the glittering alternative alive and available for (not-too-close) inspection”
    —Andy Warhol


    i “Andy Warhol: Ladies and Gentlemen”, Tate Modern, online

    • Provenance

      The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc, New York
      Andreas Pajor Art Collection AB, Bromma (acquired from the above)
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Gagosian Gallery, Andy Warhol: Ladies and Gentleman, 13 September – 11 October 1997

    • Literature

      Neil Printz and Sally King-Nero, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne Paintings and Sculptures late 1974-1976, vol. 04, London, 2014, no. 3077, pp. 201, 203 (illustrated, p. 201)

    • 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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Ladies & Gentlemen (Wilhelmina Ross)

stamped by the Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. on the overlap; stamped by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. on the reverse; numbered 'PA.35.087' on the stretcher
acrylic and silkscreen on linen
30.5 x 25.4 cm (12 x 10 in.)
Executed in 1975.

Full Cataloguing

£120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £139,700

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale
+44 7502 428 688


20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 8 March 2024