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

Untitled (Volkswagen Lemon)

Details
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Untitled (Volkswagen Lemon)
signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 85' (on the overlap)
synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas
22 x 22 in. (55.8 x 55.8 cm.)
Painted in 1985.
Provenance
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
American Fine Art Editions, Inc., Scottsdale
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2005

Lot Essay

In 1959, amid Detroit's production of the classic American automobile and New York's newly developed world of advertising, the firm Doyle Dane Bernbach ran a pared-down print ad unlike anything the average American was accustomed to seeing of a car unlike anything the average American was accustomed to driving - the Volkswagen Beetle. Art Director Helmut Krone and copywriter Julian Koenig, along with Bill Bernbach, were the brains behind the innovative, and ultimately highly successful, campaign. While many advertisements, in particular car advertisements, of that time would display products as a prize for the upper crust of society, the VW ads were direct-the image was of the car and the car alone, no sunset backdrop or picturesque mansion was used to enhance the scene. Furthermore, the car was presented as realistically as possible; no air-brushing was used to manipulate the photograph of the Beetle. Finally, the copy included was accessible to any reader; the text could be that of a good friend, not of a salesman. The result was a simple, honest pitch - one that enabled the Volkswagen to become a household name.
In the present lot, Andy Warhol has appropriated an object of everyday life and elevated it to high art. The VW advertisement in the present lot is as iconic as the Beetle itself, a prime subject for Warhol's manipulative hand and a wonderful example of the artist's lifelong fascination with advertising and commercial goods.

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