Andy Warhol - Under the Influence London Tuesday, December 9, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Art Now, Gothenburg
    Private Collection, Sweden

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I always like to work on leftovers, doing the leftover things. Things that were discarded, that everybody knew were no good, I always thought had a great potential to be funny.” Andy Warhol

    The present lot forms part of Warhol’s “Paintings for Children,” a body of work commissioned by Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger in 1982. This work, which depicts a flattened toy box illustrated in a pulsating rainbow of colours, was a stark contrast to the artist’s Guns and Knives series from the previous year. The painting was displayed in Bischofberger’s Zurich gallery space, where it was hung according to Warhol’s precise specifications: rather than being installed at the usual viewing height, each work was hung at the eye level of a five year old child. This unusual arrangement forced adult visitors to the exhibition to crouch or bend to view the artworks. This physical manipulation of the viewer mirrored Warhol’s own artistic practice, in which our perceptions of ordinary objects are transformed through the artist’s hallmark silkscreen technique. This technique, which mimics mass production, inevitably produces infinite variations of the familiar image.

    Like much of Warhol’s work, which is at once detached yet intimate, Toy Series draws upon this duality: all of the toys used for the “Paintings for Children” series came from the artist’s own personal collection of tin toys. The wavering lines of the hand-drawn contour manifest Warhol’s connection to his subject, reinvigorating the serialised image with the artist’s own touch. And yet, the present lot reminds us of our own superficial and temporal enchantment as consumers; we will inevitably forget the image that first drew us in to purchase. Immediately discarded in the child’s rapt pleasure, Warhol memorialises the cardboard packaging. Like his iconic Brillo boxes and Campbell’s soup cans, Toy Series is a symbolic nod to the artist’s roots in advertising. The painting transports us into a world of whimsical play of subject and colour, subtly reminding us of the fleeting nature of childhood.

  • 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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Toy Series

acrylic and silkscreen on canvas
28 x 35.5 cm (11 x 13 7/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 83' on the overlap.

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £62,500

Contact Specialist
Tamila Kerimova
Head of Under the Influence
+44 207 318 4065

Under the Influence

London Auction 10 December 2014 2pm