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

Myths (Mickey Mouse)

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Myths (Mickey Mouse)
signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 1981' (on the overlap)
synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas
60 x 60 in. (1542.4 x 152.4 cm.)
Painted in 1981.
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc., New York
Thomas Ammann Fine Art, Zurich
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Lot Essay

In the early 1980's Andy Warhol produced a series which he called the "Myths". Consisting of ten American mythical icons, the series includes portraits of Uncle Sam, Santa Claus and Superman (a subject first utilized in 1961). Mickey Mouse, the seventh myth, was an obvious subject. Mickey is as American an icon as Campbell's Soup and Coca Cola and like them epitomizes consumer culture.

Introduced by Walt Disney in "Steamboot Willie" in 1928, Mickey has become a corporate icon, as recognizable as the Playboy Bunny. He has appeared in over 120 cartoons and movies and is Walt Disney's most well-known cartoon character.

In the present lot, Mickey Mouse is redrawn several times, adding a three dimensional quality to the two dimensional character. It also causes the outlines to reverberate, much like a cartoonist draws around a figure to suggest movement.

With the exception of the Wicked Witch and Dracula, the Myths are mostly fictitious "heros"-beloved characters that are indelibly etched into the American psyche. Curiously, the tenth and last Myth image in the series is a self-portrait called Shadow. Warhol, most likely tongue-in-cheek, suggests that his fame has elevated him to the status on a par with Mickey Mouse and Dracula. What remains unclear is whether Warhol considered himself with the "good guys" or the evil doers. Depending on one's point of view, Warhol can be seen in either camp-it is an ambiguity that he would have welcomed.

Andy Warhol, Superman, 1981 c 2003 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/ARS, New York

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