Andy Warhol - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, September 14, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Attributed to Piero della Francesca, Saint Apollonia, c. 1455/1460. Image: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1952.5.19.
    Attributed to Piero della Francesca, Saint Apollonia, c. 1455/1460. Image: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1952.5.19.

    Famed for his depictions of branded consumer goods and 20th century celebrities, in Saint Apollonia Warhol appropriates his subject matter from a 15th century painting attributed to Piero della Francesca. Originally conceived as an altarpiece, della Francesca’s painting commemorates the ecclesiastical tale of Saint Apollonia, who was captured by the Alexandrians during a siege circa 248 AD. Tortured for her Christian beliefs, her teeth were extracted using the plyers she is depicted holding in both Warhol and della Francesca’s images. Threatened with being burnt at the stake unless she uttered blasphemous words against Christ, Apollonia made the ultimate sacrifice for her religious beliefs and threw herself into the fire.
    Warhol’s choice to lift his subject matter from a Renaissance masterpiece aligns with other artworks he was producing in the 1980s. His 1984 series Details of Renaissance Paintings took works by Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Paulo Uccello as their subject matter, transforming them for the modern day through using tightly cropped details and flat colours. In doing so, he likens the recognisability of these masterpieces to the prominence of celebrity images in modern society, exploring the idea of the icon across centuries. In Saint Apollonia, Warhol retains more of the source image’s original detail than in his other appropriations of Renaissance paintings. Rather than reducing the image of Apollonia to flat blocks of colour, Warhol keeps the cracked effect of the tempera in della Francesca’s work. The image is not cropped drastically either, but simply reproduced as a commodity. By directly appropriating della Francesca’s imagery, Warhol challenges the concept of originality and commercialises the religious icon using his Pop Art aesthetic.

    • Literature

      Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann 330-333

    • 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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Saint Apollonia (F. & S. 330-333)

The complete set of four screenprints in colours, on Essex Offset Kid Finish paper, the full sheets.
all S. 76.1 x 55.9 cm (29 7/8 x 22 in.)
All signed and numbered 20/250 in pencil (there were also 35 artist's proofs), with the artist's copyright inkstamp on the reverse, published by Dr. Frank Braun, Dusseldorf, all unframed.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £44,100

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 14 - 15 September 2022