Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Dolly Parton
stamped twice with The Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., stamps and numbered three times 'PO 50.842' (on the overlap)
synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas
42 x 42 in. (106.6 x 106.6 cm.)
Painted in 1984.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York
Private collection, acquired from the above
Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum and Miami Art Museum, About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits, September 1999-January 2000, no. 61, p. 57 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

"My fantasies carried me to where I wanted to go. My imagination is greater than the reality. I really get into whatever I get into, and I do it my own way. I like to think that somewhere down inside me there's still a Garden of Eden. I'm still innocent and sweet in a wonderful way" (Dolly Parton as quoted in "New Again: Dolly Parton," Interview Magazine, New York, July 1984).

Andy Warhol's commanding rendition of Dolly Parton is perversely sophisticated in its "campy" stylization; a quality that mirrors and explains her popularity and mass appeal. A star of the stage and screen Dolly's appeal was two-fold; her talent as a country singer was undeniable and her body type and figure made her "the total package." She was sexy and sweet, the girl next door as well as an object of desire; there was a calculated and staged manner to her shtick; she played on her attributes with bawdiness that appealed to a naive middle-class pretentiousness. Like Warhol, Dolly lived her life in character, and believably so. Warhol's portrait amplifies Dolly's "Dollyness", he articulates her character more truly through the use of the cotton candy colored hair and ruby red lips-her gaze is inviting, even seductive. Warhol was prolific with his portraiture and his portrait of Dolly stands out as uniquely successful; perhaps the best contemporary comparable to the success of Warhol's Dolly would be Jeff Koon's sculpture of Michael Jackson and Bubbles. Each work is a prime example of American Kitsch and it's awkward relationship to our contemporary existence and the public and private understanding of stardom and it's contrived and perverse realities.

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