Andy Warhol - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, January 18, 2023 | Phillips
  • In 1985, the American Pop artist Andy Warhol embarked on his largest portfolio of screenprints. Titled Reigning Queens, Warhol chose to focus his creative attention on the four female monarchs who were ruling in the world at the time, having assumed their respective thrones through birth right alone rather than marriage. These four figures included Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Ntfombi Tfwala of Swaziland. Based on official or media photographs of these monarchs, the screenprint portfolio consists of four colour variants of each queen, amounting to sixteen images in total. The screenprints were created using a photographic silkscreen technique central to Warhol’s practice, employed profusely in both his prints and paintings. Warhol produced two editions of the Reigning Queens portfolio: forty ‘Standard Edition’ prints and thirty ‘Royal Edition’ prints. Screenprints from the ‘Royal Edition’ were adorned with ‘diamond dust’ - fine particles of ground up glass that sparkle in the light like diamonds – adding a glamour and extravagance to these images and further emphasising the regal allure of Warhol’s iconic subjects. The Reigning Queens series brings together many themes central to Warhol’s oeuvre, such as portraiture, celebrity, and consumerism.


    Her Majesty Queen Ntfombi, The Queen Mother, Ndlovukati of Eswatini, is the current joint head of state of Eswatini, serving since 1986. She was also regent of Eswatini from 1983 to 1986, serving on behalf of her son, the current King Mswati III, until he turned eighteen years old. The Kingdom of Eswatini, formerly named Swaziland, is one of the smallest countries in Africa, and the last absolute monarchy on the continent. By tradition, the king reigns alongside his mother, the Ndlovukati, with the king viewed as the administrative head of state and the latter as a spiritual and national head of state, with real power counterbalancing that of the king. Queen Ntfombi’s image has been widely disseminated in the West due to her inclusion in Andy Warhol’s Reigning Queens portfolio. As the only non-European monarch depicted, her presence brings the alternative structure of Eswatini’s Royal Family into the spotlight. In the image appropriated by Warhol, Queen Ntfombi is depicted wearing a traditional headdress – most probably constructed from feathers – which indicates her royal status. Here depicted in vivid orange, with accents of yellow, red and bright blue lines, Warhol’s portrait of Queen Ntfombi vibrates with vitality.

    • Provenance

      Holland Art Gallery, Eindhoven
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2003

    • Literature

      Frayda Feldman & Jörg Schellmann 349A

    • 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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Property from a Private Dutch Collection


Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland, from Reigning Queens (Royal Edition) (F. & S. 349A)

Screenprint in colours with diamond dust, on Lenox Museum Board, the full sheet.
S. 100 x 80 cm (39 3/8 x 31 1/2 in.)
Signed and numbered 'R 7/30' in pencil (there were also 5 artist's proofs), with the artist's copyright ink stamp on the reverse, published by George C. P. Mulder, Amsterdam, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for £20,160

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 18 - 19 January 2023