Sturtevant - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session New York Tuesday, May 16, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Sturtevant’s 1972 Warhol Gold Marilyn prompts many conversations surrounding fame, pop culture, authorship, and re-appropriation. A decade before the present work’s creation in 1962, Andy Warhol used an image of Monroe, the famed actress who had died earlier that year, to make a silkscreen—an image that would be reproduced hundreds of times across his canvases throughout his career. A few years later, Sturtevant—a young artist just embarking upon the New York art scene—asked to borrow Warhol’s stencil. Unable to find it, Sturtevant “decided to find the original [Marilyn] Hollywood still, one chance in a million and I found it. I took it to Andy’s silkscreen man and it was perfect. A Warhol screen from my photo which was his photo.”Such began the female artist’s own Marilyns, re-appropriations of Warhol’s appropriations, like Warhol Gold Marilyn.

    “Sometimes popular, at other times vilified, consistently notorious and latterly applauded, Sturtevant, Monroe, the painting Marilyn by Warhol and Sturtevant’s Warhol Marilyn operate in a feedback loop prompting questions not only in regard to the copy but also concerning celebrity, iconicity and gender.”
    —Patricia Lee

    Like Warhol, Sturtevant presented each of her Marilyns in various shapes, sizes and formats. Mimicking the same golden tondo support as Warhol’s Round Marilyn, 1962, Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Sturtevant’s Warhol Gold Marilyn similarly elevates Monroe as a saintly, celestial figure. In Sturtevant’s interpretation, however, the stencil is blurrier. The subject’s left eye gets lost in the black ink depicting shadows along her hairline, while her jawline disappears where it meets her neck. The result is an imperfect, grainy portrait—one which captures the fragility in the actress’s all-too-short life. Sturtevant’s ability to depict what is slightly broken here in Monroe’s image suggests a deeper connection between the two women. Both Monroe and Sturtevant were female artists in a male-dominated universe, doing their best to assert themselves and their art in a time when image and fame trumped all else.


    Andy Warhol, Round Marilyn, 1962, Museum Brandhorst, Munich. Image: bpk Bildagentur / Museum Brandhorst / Art Resource, NY, Artwork: © 2023 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


    i Sturtevant, quoted in Patricia Lee, Sturtevant: Warhol Marilyn, London, 2016, pp. 19-20.

    • Provenance

      Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles
      Cornette de Saint Cyr, Paris, October 11, 2003, lot 109
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Paintings and Objects 1965-1973, October 1987

    • Literature

      Sturtevant: The Brutal Truth, exh. cat., Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, 2004, p. 66 (details reproduced in handwritten notes)

    • Artist Biography


      Elaine Sturtevant, known professionally as Sturtevant, was an American artist whose practice considered issues of authorship, authenticity, and the nature of reproduction. Her carefully inexact recreations, referred to as “repetitions,” of the work of her contemporaries attracted almost immediate attention as Sturtevant embarked on this practice in 1964, copying the work of fellow artists and friends like Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, and Roy Lichtenstein. Sturtevant mastered several artforms including painting, sculpture, photography, and film in order to faithfully repeat the work of her contemporaries, continually updating her process in order to keep pace with the changing tides of the avant-garde. Many of the artists Sturtevant repeated, often before they became famous, would later be considered the iconic artists of their respective movements and generations. Her late work is concerned with reproduction and repetition in the digital world.  

      Sturtevant’s work has attracted simultaneous acclaim and criticism for its close copying of the work of other artists. Her work has been praised as innovative and insightful, and the artist has been the subject of major retrospectives at institutions such as the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, the Serpentine Galleries, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris. Sturtevant received the Golden Lion at the 2011 Venice Biennale for lifetime achievement. She died in 2014 in Paris, where she had been living and working since the 1990s. 

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Warhol Gold Marilyn

signed, titled, inscribed and dated ""Warhol's round gold Marilyn" e. sturtevant 1973" on the reverse
silkscreen and gold paint on canvas
diameter 18 in. (45.7 cm)
Executed in 1973.

Full Cataloguing

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $190,500

Contact Specialist

Annie Dolan

Specialist, Head of Sale, Morning Session
+1 212 940 1288

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 16 May 2023