Andy Warhol - Photographs London Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Andy Warhol Foundation, New York

  • Literature

    (i, ii, iv, v) Andy Warhol Photography, exh. cat., The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Hamburg Kunsthalle, 1999, pp. 182–83 (variants)
    (iv, v) Andy Warhol, Polaroids: Celebrities and Self-Portraits, exh. cat., Starmach Gallery, Krakow, 2000, pl. 51 and 52 (variants)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Mr Land invented this great camera called a Polaroid. And it just takes the face of the person. There is something about the camera that makes the person look just right. They usually come out great. I take at least 200 pictures and then I choose. Sometimes I take half a picture and a lip from another picture. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy.”

    Photography was central to Andy Warhol’s life and work. In 1970 he purchased a Big Shot camera that accompanied him everywhere as he relentlessly and obsessively documented his illustrious social circle. The Polaroids were often used as the basis for his silkscreen portraits, their distinctive saturation directing the stark contrasts of the canvases. Andy Grundberg has noted, however, they are far more than mere ephemera to the working process: “They are also evidence of Warhol’s lifelong fascination with the camera’s own transformative powers. For him, a photograph was more than a record of whatever reality lay on front of the lens; it was no less than a fictionalising tool that embodied the very aspiration on which he staked his career: it could actively manufacture celebrity and, ultimately, identify itself.”
    (A. Grundberg and V. Fremont, Andy Warhol Polaroids, 1971–1986, New York: Pace/MacGill, 1992)

    At odds with the determinedly machine-like production of the canvases, the appeal of the Polaroids lies in their unique, tangible quality. They are at once disarmingly honest and curiously unrevealing – the sitter is confronted by the camera’s stark gaze, but distanced by their celebrity. As seen in the current group lot, in which the women’s immaculately prepared make-up contrasts with the snatched intimacy of the Polaroid, Warhol perfectly captures the polarities of the glamorous and the
    real, the vulnerable and the knowing, that demonstrate his inimitable understanding of the cult of celebrity.

  • Artist Biography

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    Known as the “King of Pop,” Andy Warhol was the leading face of the Pop Art movement in the United States 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 like Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities like 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 a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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Joan Collins, c. 1985; Jane Fonda, c. 1980; Carly Simon, c. 1970s; Karen Kain, c. 1983

Five colour Polaroid prints.
Each 9.5 × 7.3 cm (3 3/4 × 2 7/8 in)
Four with copyright credit blindstamp in the margin; each with 'Estate of Andy Warhol' and 'Andy Warhol Foundation' credit stamps on the verso.

£18,000 - 22,000 


17 May 2012