Christie’s announce the rediscovery of a highly important, monumental-scale self-portrait by Andy Warhol (1928-1987). Executed in 1967 and an addition to an historically important series of 10 self-portraits, the picture has been in a private collection since 1974 when it was acquired from Leo Castelli, Warhol’s primary dealer. It will be offered at the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Wednesday 16 February 2011 in London and is expected to realise £3 million to £5 million. The picture will be exhibited in public for the first time at Christie’s New York from 22 to 26 January 2011.
The present work is one of an historic series of 11 large-scale self-portraits executed in 1967, five of which are in museums (Tate, London; The Staatsgalerie Moderne Kunst, Munich; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and two at the Detroit Institute for Arts). Such is the importance of the series that eight of the known works were included in the artist’s landmark retrospective at MOMA two years after his death in 1989. The present work is completely unpublished and has been in the same private collection since 1974.
Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: “I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of offering this rediscovered masterpiece by Andy Warhol. At the time of its execution Warhol was at the peak of his creative powers and this very rare series of works were the largest self-portraits he had made. This work shows a classic image of the artist in an imposing, larger than life scale, with an extraordinary presence of thick, red paint. That 5 of the works from this series are in museums is a testament to their importance.”
The image of Warhol with his hand to his mouth is one of the most representative and iconic images of the artist. Warhol first used the image for a group of works in 1966 painted in a much smaller, life-size scale. The following year he used the same image in producing 11 monumental works in a large-scale format of six foot square, of which the present example is one. Six works from this series were exhibited in the American Pavilion at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal which was visited by tens of millions of people, and which saw the portraits dominate an exhibition including works by Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Barnett Newman and Robert Rauschenberg.
By 1967 Warhol had reached a point in his career when he was internationally recognized as the most important and controversial figure in American Pop Art. The present series of self-portraits represent the high point of his career when he has achieved great wealth and fame, and when as a celebrity he brashly and confidently presented his own image in a truly monumental fashion to a global audience of millions.
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Images available on request
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Public viewing times:
Christie’s New York: 22 to 26 January 2011
Christie’s London: 12 to 16 February 2011
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