STURTEVANT (1924-2014)
STURTEVANT (1924-2014)
STURTEVANT (1924-2014)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more THE COLLECTION OF THOMAS AND DORIS AMMANN
STURTEVANT (1924-2014)

Warhol 25 Marilyns

STURTEVANT (1924-2014)
Warhol 25 Marilyns
signed twice, titled and inscribed ‘"The 25 Marilyns" e. sturtevant ”Warhols The 25 M" e. sturtevant' (on the reverse)
silkscreen ink and acrylic on canvas
89 1/8 x 62in. (226.5 x 157.5cm.)
Executed in 1973
Stux Gallery, New York.
Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich (acquired from the above in 1987).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
L. Maculan (ed.), Sturtevant Catalogue Raisonné 1964-2004, Ostfildern 2004, p. 183, no. 187 (installation view at Museum für Moderne Kunst in 2004-2005 illustrated in colour, p. 83; illustrated in colour, p. 90).
P. Lee, Sturtevant: Warhol Marilyn, London 2016, pp. 18 and 68, fig. 6 (illustrated in colour, p. 38; installation view at Museum für Moderne Kunst in 2004-2005 illustrated, p. 9 and illustrated in colour, p. 44).
Syracuse, Everson Museum, Sturtevant. Studies for Warhols’ Marilyns, Beuys’ Actions and Objects, Duchamps’ Etc. Including Film, 1973 (illustrated, unpaged).
Hamburg, Kunstverein, D&S Ausstellung, 1989, p. 120 (illustrated, p. 156).
Meymac, Abbaye Saint-André, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Aspects de l'art du XXè siècle. L'œuvre re-produite, 1991, p. 170.
Frankfurt, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Sturtevant. The Brutal Truth, 2004-2005, pp. 70 and 202 (detail illustrated in colour, p. 71).
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Interim Head of Department

Lot Essay

Made for Sturtevant's first institutional solo exhibition at the Everson Museum, Syracuse, in 1973, Warhol 25 Marilyns is situated at the dawn of her ground-breaking appropriation practice. Rendered in silkscreen using Warhol’s own method, it is an imitation of his 1962 work Marilyn Monroe in Black and White (Twenty-Five Marilyns), now held in the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Sturtevant’s reproductions of works by other artists were years ahead of their time. Their interrogation of authorship and originality laid the groundwork for the emergence of the ‘Pictures Generation’, and with it the birth of postmodernism. Warhol, an artist deeply engaged with these concepts himself, was among Sturtevant’s most significant muses. Where his silkscreens reproduced images found in newspaper and adverts, however, Sturtevant went one stage further, performing the same act upon objects claiming themselves to be ‘art’. The present work was acquired by Thomas Ammann in 1987, and later included in the artist's retrospective at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt in 2004.

Born Elaine Horan, but known professionally by her married surname only, Sturtevant first began to contemplate the idea of repeating other artists’ work after moving to New York in the 1950s. There, many figures—including Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Warhol himself—were already asking important questions about what constituted an ‘original’ artistic gesture. As Abstract Expressionism’s emphasis on authentic emotion faded, and mass-produced consumer culture came to the fore, these issues seemed more pertinent than ever. Sturtevant was quick to outsmart her male contemporaries. By 1965, just a few short years after Warhol’s initial burst of artistic production, she had convinced him to grant her access to his Factory and his silkscreens. Her first works, showed at the Bianchini Gallery that year, were reproductions of his iconic Flowers. She quickly moved onto the Marilyns. Unable to find the original stencil, she managed to locate the exact film still that Warhol himself had used. ‘… It was perfect’, she recalled. ‘A Warhol screen from my photo which was his photo’ (E. Sturtevant, quoted in P. Lee, Sturtevant: Warhol Marilyn, London 2016, pp. 19-20).

Sturtevant approached art through the lens of philosophy. She was greatly influenced by Gilles Deleuze’s Différence et répétition (1968), reading it in its original French before the English translation was available. Repeating something, she believed, brought about minor variations. Those differences forced the viewer to look beyond the original’s appearance, and to interrogate its underlying structure and purpose. To this end, Sturtevant appropriated Warhol’s works from memory and without mechanical aids. So deep ran her understanding of his process that, when quizzed about his technique, he famously replied ‘Ask Elaine’. Marcel Duchamp—another of Sturtevant’s subjects—had been among the first to ask at what point an object becomes ‘art’. In her own work, Sturtevant demonstrated that repetition could help us to see this transformation in action: a belief carried forwards by Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince. ‘Warhol was not making copies, and definitely not repetitions, but rather he was repeating—a crucial difference’, explained Sturtevant; ‘… for me, that’s where his brilliance lies’ (E. Sturtevant, quoted in conversation with B. Hainley, Artforum, March 2003).

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