Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)


Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
each: signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 86' (on the overlap)
silkscreen inks and synthetic polymer on canvas
each: 40 1/8 x 40 1/8in. (102 x 102cm.)
overall: 40 1/8 x 80 1/4in. (102 x 204cm.)
Executed in 1986 (2)
Anthony D'Offay Gallery, London (A002839)
Galerie Isy Brachot, Brussels
London, D'Offay Gallery, Andy Warhol Self-Portraits, July-August 1986-1987.
Brussels, Galerie Isy Brachot, Warhol, October-December 1989.

Lot Essay

This pair of paintings, each executed in the complimentary colours of red and green, form part of Warhol's last great series of self-portraits which was executed in 1986 for an exhibition at the Anthony D'Offay Gallery in July of that year. As David Bourdon has written of this exhibition, the initial reaction to the striking images of Warhol that these paintings provoked was profound with many viewers leaving "deeply moved". "Some spectators", Bourdon writes, "interpreted the pictures as momento mori, an unblinking, unsentimental view of a hurriedly approaching mortality. Others perceived them as a metaphor for the multiplicity of ways in which the artist was perceived." (D. Bourdon, Warhol, New York 1989, p. 402)

Over ten years after the artist's death, the haunting image that Warhol projects of himself in these paintings is as powerful as ever. By the 1980s, Warhol's personal image was almost totally invented. His pale pigment-less skin had been altered and tightened, and his sunken cheeks had been smoothed with collagen injections, he wore a variety of make-up and on his head, one of the many famous silver wigs. Staring out at the viewer with expressionless but piercing eyes that seem like the shutters of a camera lens, Warhol exaggerates the strangeness of his appearance by having his wig stand wildly on end. Enshrouded in darkness, the artist's somewhat fragile image splashes out of the surface of the canvas like an abstract expressionist painting in what is perhaps the most powerful and certainly the most poignant of all Warhol's self-portraits - a self-knowing image of the artist "Andy Warhol" as both myth and man.

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