Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Shadow (Double)
synthetic polymer and silkscreen ink on canvas
50 x 78 in. (127 x 198.1 cm.)
(2)Painted in 1978.
Gagosian Gallery, New York
Peder Bonnier, New York
Galierie Volker Diehl, Berlin
Private collection, Europe, 1992
Anon. sale; Christie's, London, 23 June 2005, lot 12
Private collection, Italy
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 9 November 2011, lot 637
Skarstedt Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
A. Schürmann, "Die Grenze des Sichtbaren," Andy Warhol - The Late Work: Museum kunst palast Düsseldorf 14.2 bis 31.5.2004, Vernissage-Verl, Heidelberg, 2004, p. 58 (illustrated).
Andy Warhol: Paintings from the 1970s, exh. cat., New York, Skarstedt Gallery, 2012, pp. 49-50 (illustrated).
New York, Gagosian Gallery, Andy Warhol: Shadow Paintings, November-December 1989, pp. 20-21 (illustrated).
Bremen, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bestände Onnasch, 1992, p. 75 (illustrated).
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, August 1996-October 1999 (on loan).
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona and Porto, Museu de Arte Contemporänea de Serralves, The Onnasch Collection: Aspects of Contemporary Art, November 2001-February 2002, p. 117 (illustrated).
Du¨sseldorf, Museum Kunst Palast; Vaduz, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein; Stockholm and Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, Andy Warhol: The Late Work, February 2004-January 2005, pp. 34-35 and 153 (illustrated).

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Joanna Szymkowiak
Joanna Szymkowiak

Lot Essay

A brazen departure from Andy Warhol’s serial representational paintings, Shadow (Double) is grand depiction of shadows magnified to sublime, striking proportions, totally devoid of any recognizable motif or figure. This work is one of only a small number of Shadow paintings in private hands from a monumental series of silkscreened works produced within the short span of 1978-1979, created following Warhol’s increased interest in shadows as an integral element within his compositions. This silkscreened image perfectly balances positive and negative space, creating an optical tension between the foreground and background, much in the same way the celebrated abstract expressionists of his time aimed to achieve in their own paintings.
This fascination with the reciprocity of light and dark noticeably materializes in his 1977 Hammer & Sickle and Skulls series, within which Warhol’s controlled dramatic lighting and increased contrast compelled dark shadows to establish further presence over the image plane. As if in a bursting act of culminating preoccupation with obscurity, Warhol eradicates his reliance on a recognizable object and allows the shadowy forms to exist as their own engaging composition.
Simultaneous to his attention in darkness, Andy Warhol was investigating abstraction, evident also in his Oxidation, Rorschach, and Camouflage paintings from 1977 to 1986. Contrary to the action painters who exposed the artist’s hand by using brushstrokes and paint to record energetic gestures, Warhol instead detaches the creator from the painting by screen-printing images originating from photographs. Regarding the angst of the Abstract Expressionist movement as comically masculine and clichéd, Warhol’s abstract compositions act as parody of action painters and Ab-Ex artists such as Franz Kline, Milton Resnick, and Jackson Pollock.
“The world of Abstract Expressionism was very macho” Warhol said. “The painters who used to hang around the Cedar Bar on University Place were all hard-driving, two-fisted types… The toughness was part of a tradition, it went with their agonized, anguished art. They were always exploding and having fist fights about their work and their love lives... The art world was different in those days. I tried to imagine myself in a bar striding over to, say, Roy Lichtenstein and asking him to 'step outside' because I'd heard he'd insulted my soup cans. I mean, how corny. I was glad those slug-it-out routines had been retired—they weren't my style, let alone my capability” (A. Warhol, quoted in J. Hendrickson, Roy Lichtenstein, Cologne 2000, p. 16).
Shadow (Double) in particular bears striking resemblances to the gesturally abstract action paintings of Franz Kline. Kline, whose compositions are characterized by confidently bold and jagged lines, splashing and smearing as if painted on a whim, emphasized dynamism and exude raw energy. Likewise, Shadow (Double) seems to mimic this same structure and confident angles that Kline sought to expose to his viewers, but instead removing gestural expression. By utilizing photography and silkscreen prints, which intrinsically bear the potential to be reproduced infinitely, Warhol also seemingly pokes fun at the painstaking technique by which abstract expressionists create their paintings.
Despite the evident tongue-and-cheek humor with which Warhol depicts abstraction, the serialism of his Shadow paintings implies an underlying seriousness to Shadow (Double). Unlike his images of celebrities, advertisements, and commodities which imply an impersonal consumerism, Hirshhorn associate curator Evelyn Hankins describes that “these have a real hand and a touch to them”. Julian Schnabel, in the preface to Andy Warhol: Shadow Paintings (New York: Gagosian Gallery, 1989), describes that even though the works initially appear predominantly dark and lacking in discernable figure, the shadow paintings are “as full of imagery as any of Andy's other paintings." Perhaps Warhol’s deviation from his well-known images of cultural icons and consumer products was driven by his desire to innovate. By incorporating abstract imagery into his paintings, Warhol pushes the boundaries of his success and breaks free of the popular notion that he was merely a commercial artist.
The source of the image for Shadow (Double), along with Warhol’s other Shadow paintings is yet unknown, and still debated. Accounts from his studio assistant, Ronnie Cutrone, indicate that the images are derived from shadows in the artist’s studio, The Factory, cast from cardboard maquettes assembled to cast abstract silhouettes. Some diary entries imply that the origins of these shadows are more corporeal. What is most evident is that Andy Warhol did not intend for the origin of the image to be the subject matter. By concealing this identity, he instead provides an image of something outside of the picture plane, leaving the viewer with a longing for something that does not exist and cannot be obtained. Shadow (Double) is both a humorous composition as well as a mysteriously alluring image, a striking example of Andy Warhol’s groundbreaking Shadow paintings.

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