Andy Warhol - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, January 18, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “When a person is the beauty of their day, and their looks are really in style, and then the times change and tastes change, and ten years go by, and if they keep exactly their same look and don’t change anything and if they take care of themselves, they’ll still be a beauty”
    —Andy Warhol

    An emblem of the Pop Art movement, Andy Warhol’s images of Marilyn Monroe capture the unrivalled charisma and erotic appeal of the post-war American icon. After hearing of Monroe’s untimely death in 1962, the artist immediately immortalised the muse in a series of over fifty paintings which, for a final moment, captured the iconic star at the peak of her beauty and fame. Warhol continued to return to Marilyn as a subject throughout his career, drawing on the public appetite for her likeness as the pinnacle of Hollywood’s Golden Age. His continual reproductions of Marilyn’s portrait echo the mass-production of her image in mainstream media, both in her life and after her death. Yet, while images of Marilyn in contemporary media were often paired with speculations around sex and scandals, Warhol’s portraits remove Marilyn from this context, and instead present the actress as a modern icon who transcends time.


    177795_FIG 1: Andy Warhol holding up Marilyn. Photo by William John Kennedy
    Marilyn Monroe, 1952. © Archivio GBB / Bridgeman Images

    Warhol lifted Marilyn’s portrait from a publicity image taken while she was working on the 1953 box-office hit Niagara. A seminal film in the actress’s rise to fame, Monroe’s portrayal of the femme fatale Rose Loomis cemented her status as a Hollywood sex symbol. Appropriating the striking portrait, Warhol directly tapped into the instantly recognisable image and reconfigured it as art. Reducing the actress’s image to bold lines and flat colours, and reproducing a series of works with varying colour palettes and contrasts in his screenprint portfolio from 1967, Warhol captured the multiplicity of meaning behind the face of the icon. Each image from this series was printed from five screens ­­– one being the photographic impression, and the remaining four for the different layers of colour. While Warhol once famously quipped, "the more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel", it is his practice’s seriality that renders the superficial subject matter profound. Like Marylin’s movies, Warhol fetishised and celebrated fame’s kitschy surface, freezing it in time. As we fix our gaze upon Monroe, the elusive nature of her life and death weighs heavy upon us, and we are ultimately forced to reckon with the sombre link between stardom and exploitation.

    • Literature

      Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann 29

    • 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 French Collection


Marilyn (F. & S. 29)

Screenprint in colours, on wove paper, the full sheet.
S. 91.3 x 91.2 cm (35 7/8 x 35 7/8 in.)
Signed in pencil and stamp-numbered 138/250 in black ink on the reverse (there were also 26 artist's proofs lettered A-Z), published by Factory Additions, New York, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £157,500

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 18 - 19 January 2023