Andy Warhol - Evening & Day Editions London Thursday, June 6, 2024 | Phillips
  • Although famed for his depictions of branded consumer goods and twentieth-century celebrities, in Saint Apollonia Warhol appropriated 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 the siege of circa 248 AD. Tortured for her Christian beliefs, her teeth were extracted using plyers, which 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.


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

    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 by using tightly cropped details and flat colours. In doing so, Warhol likened 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. It is not drastically cropped and, rather than reducing the image of Apollonia to flat blocks of colour, Warhol keeps the cracked effect of the tempera and gold leaf in della Francesca’s work. By directly appropriating della Francesca’s work, Warhol reproduces the imagery as a commodity, challenging the concept of originality and utilising his Pop aesthetic to commercialise this religious icon.

    • Provenance

      Dr. Frank Braun, Düsseldorf
      Tom Cugliani Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      see 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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Property from a Private Collection, London


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

Unique screenprint in colours, on Essex Offset Kid Finish paper, with full margins.
I. 78.8 x 57.5 cm (31 x 22 5/8 in.)
S. 88.8 x 58.5 cm (34 7/8 x 23 in.)

Signed and numbered 'TP 58/80' in pencil (a unique colour variant trial proof, the edition was 250 and 35 artist's proofs), published Dr. Frank Braun, Dusseldorf, framed.

Full Cataloguing

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £15,240

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 6 - 7 June 2024