Andy Warhol is amongst the most celebrated American artists of the last century, with some of his works being sold for the highest prices ever in the art market, and with a wealth of imagery that could be described as none other than every day. His enduring popularity can perhaps be attributed to some shared element of these observations, noting that part of his magic was his ability to combine high art and the ordinary— a cross-section of the human condition that even was reflected in the company he kept, his New York City art studio The Factory being a well known watering hole for city street bohemians and influential celebrities alike. His secretly humble and amiable personality was monumentally overshadowed in the public eye by his colorful, trailblazing, controversial and inspiringly untethered artwork, with vision after vision of fearless and bold statement-making that often addressed many real-world shortcomings of society while at the same time igniting a veritable stampede of stylistic fun, drama, humor and joy.
Andy Warhol – Marilyn Pink (Lg), offset lithograph 1993 Andy Warhol – Marilyn Green #23, offset lithograph 1989
Though Marilyn Monroe is one of his most infamous muses, Warhol had no qualms about depicting the likes of other famous muses including Mona Lisa, Aphrodite The Muse herself, or modern favorites like Elizabeth Taylor and Chairman Mao. His portraiture is forever somehow more than just plain portraits, seamlessly working in societal commentary, critique, reverence or comradery, all of these perhaps shifting subject matters transcended by the party of the art itself. Warhol clearly placed a high value on the freedom of expression and the practice of art as a lifestyle, something infused into every work he made, and something that continually breathes life into these images that are so widely distributed throughout our culture.
Andy Warhol – Two Golden Mona Lisas, offset lithograph 1990
Andy Warhol – Birth of Venus - Red, offset lithograph 2000
Andy Warhol – Liz Taylor and Mao, offset lithographs 1989
In his Reigning Queens series he features, amongst others, Queen Ntombi Twala Of Swaziland and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, first edition exhibition posters for Art Expo Denmark in 1986. Ingrid The Nun and Ingrid with Hat are in celebration of beloved actress Ingrid Bergman of Casablanca fame, first edition posters for an exhibition in Sweden in 1983. Always the humanist, he used his position in the limelight to cast valuable attention on cultures from all corners with dignity, as in this first printing exhibition poster American Indian from an exhibition at L.A.’s Ace Gallery in 1977. The red one is signed in felt-tip pen by Warhol.
Andy Warhol – Queen Ntombi Twala Of Swaziland and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, offset lithographs 1986
Andy Warhol – Ingrid The Nun and Ingrid with Hat, offset lithographs 1983
Andy Warhol – American Indian (Red) SIGNED, and American Indian (Blue), offset lithographs 1977
"... while at the same time igniting a veritable stampede of stylistic fun, drama, humor and joy."
He was even unafraid to critique himself, and created countless self portraits, pointing his lens in the direction of his own psyche and experience.
Four Self Portraits
is from a series of forty plus posters of a collection of Roger L. Schlaifer, the licensing agent who brought Warhol's most famous works to the poster market. Published by Nouvelles Images in the late 1980's, carefully designed by Mr Schlaifer's team and Andy Warhol, it
brings out all the bright and vivid contrasts found in Warhol's work
is an original 1988 exhibition poster from the Kirkin Plaza in Osaka, Japan featuring the camouflage motif that Warhol experimented with.
Andy Warhol – Four Self Portraits, offset lithograph 1989 Andy Warhol – Self Portrait, offset lithograph 1988
Andy Warhol – 300 Sl Coupe (1954) and Formula 1 Car W 196 R (1954), offset lithographs 1989
Nothing was safe from the viewfinder of this legendary observer, as is proven by a choice of subject that ran the gamut from social, political and pop culture to automobiles, product packaging and architecture. This series of Koln Cathedral Warhol originally made with diamond dust sprinkled into the wet ink as it dried, making his images of this historic church actually shimmering with light like the structure, symbolically, that they represent. These beautiful offset lithograph reproductions do an excellent job of translating this subtle detail.
Andy Warhol – Koln Cathedral and Koln Cathedral Blue, offset lithographs
And to preach recognition to what is probably his most famous and genre defining topics, 100 Cans depicts Warhol’s inimitable Campbell’s soup can, a concept so down to earth it is hard not to like, this print a Museum Reproduction edition silkscreen printed in 1991— the signature theme of Warhol’s career, which he himself would argue, and also his favorite. “I should have just done the Campbell’s Soups and kept on doing them ... because everybody only does one painting anyway.”
Andy Warhol – 100 Cans, silkscreen 1991
A major retrospective of Warhol’s life’s work is on view at the Whitney Museum right now through the end of March— dedicated fans can visit the show in person, and if the inspiration is catching, can further browse through the nearly one hundred different Warhol prints we have housed in our collection.