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  • Provenance

    Galerie Sho Contemporary Art, Tokyo
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1962, Richard Pettibone attended Andy Warhol’s exhibition of 32 Campbell’s soup can paintings at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, a visit which Pettibone has deemed one of the most important sources of inspiration for his own work. Of the soup cans, the artist said, “These examples suggested to me the possibility of using other people’s work as the subject matter for paintings and sculpture” (Richard Pettibone, quoted in Francis M. Naumann, “Appropriating Duchamp, Appropriately” in Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective, exh. cat., The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 2005, p. 21). Three years later in 1965, Pettibone took a box of his first appropriation paintings to Warhol in New York. Warhol instantly showed them to Leo Castelli, who then shared them with other New York dealers. As word of mouth traveled back to Los Angeles that Pettibone was receiving attention in New York, the artist received his own invitation to show at the Ferus Gallery, thus solidifying the unbreakable connection between Warhol and Pettibone. The present lot consists of ten unique appropriations of one of Warhol’s most famed subjects, Marilyn Monroe. Executed in 1978 the year before Warhol revisited the subject of Marilyn in his own Reversal series, Pettibone’s intimately scaled paintings recall Warhol’s early Marilyns, begun in 1962 following the actress’s death. Each measuring only three and a half inches in height, these paintings showcase Pettibone’s meticulous craftsmanship and capabilities as a draughtsman and painter. With every detail of Warhol’s silkscreens translated into this miniature format, these ten Andy Warhol ‘Marilyn’ works are uniquely intimate appropriations of the iconic image that has become synonymous with post-war art.

    While inspired by Warhol, Pettibone has never conformed to the notion of artists becoming mass-producing machines. In fact, the hallmark of Pettibone’s practice is found in his meticulous process, evident in every detail of his crafted objects, from their painted surface down to their handmade stretchers. This process begins with the sourcing of an image, which Pettibone obtains not from the physical works themselves, but from illustrations of the works in early issues of ArtForum, thus matching the images’ scales in flat, printed form. As Michael Duncan aptly explained, “by reducing such subjects back to more or less their original diminutive sizes, Pettibone emulated how photography and vision itself shrinks the world into digestible images…His works make us see that all art is a kind of miniature, condensing larger experiences into compact spaces” (Michael Duncan, “A Snow Shovel Is Nice” in Richard Pettibone: A Retrospective, exh. cat., The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, 2005, p. 6). Indeed, these ten Marilyn paintings create a complex dialogue between image, appropriation and authorship, one that feels even more relevant in today’s contemporary age.


Ten works: Andy Warhol 'Marilyn'

(i-v), (vii-x) signed and dated “Richard Pettibone 1978” on the overlap
(vi) signed “Richard Pettibone” on the overlap

synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas
each 3 1/2 x 3 in. (8.9 x 7.6 cm.)
Executed in 1978.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 16 May 2018