Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé, 1954

Details
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé, 1954
signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 1986' (on the overlap)
synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas
60 1/8 x 50¼ in. (152.5 x 127.5 cm.)
Painted in 1986.
Provenance
Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Exhibited
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Andy Warhol, Cars, September-November 1988, pp. 38 and 138 (illustrated in color).
Special Notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

Lot Essay

"I think everybody should be like a machine. I think everybody should be like everybody" (A. Warhol, interviewed by Gene R. Swenson with Andy Warhol, first published in Artnews (New York), vol. 62, November 1963, pp. 60-63, reprinted in Andy Warhol: 1928-1987, Jacob Baal-Teschuva ed., Prestel-Verlag, Munich, 1993, pp. 131-32).

Andy Warhol saw the machine as an ideal model for existence - simple, likeable, monotonous, and highly capable. As such, he cultivated a robotic public self-image. He also wanted people to judge him by his exterior, and nothing more, thus he rarely divulged biographical details. The artist developed a method of creating art at a highly efficient speed via the silk-screen, using repetition and appropriation to diminish individuating marks. As Paul Bergin writes in an essay on the artist, "The machine is, to [Andy Warhol], a way of life, representative of a unique field of twentieth-century experience, and all of [his] art is striving to express the machine in the machine's own terms" (P. Bergin, "Andy Warhol: The Artist as Machine", Art Journal, vol. 26, No. 4 (Summer, 1967), p. 359). In 1986 Warhol made a portrait of the ultimate machine that had long stood to represent American life: the 1950s automobile.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé, pictured in the present work, is a symbol of post-war prosperity and America's fascination with the packaged image of a sleek, accessorized, and lucrative life-style. Repeated eight times, the loaded symbol of the car is at once exacerbated and deflated. The romance of the object - its sexiness and appeal - is blown out of proportion and fetishized to a point where its banality battles with its appeal. This process lies at the heart of much of Warhol's seminal works, such as the Brillo Boxes, Campbell's Soup Cans, the Marilyn and Elvis portraits. Warhol indulges in the American fascination with objects, status, beauty, and fame, reveling in the lack of consciousness precipitated by obsessive material desire.

;

More from Post War and Contemporary Art Morning Session

View All
View All