10 Facts About Andy Warhol's Ladies And Gentlemen

Written by - MyArtBroker
Ladies And Gentlemen (complete set) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (complete set) © Andy Warhol 1975
Toni Clayton

Toni Clayton, American Pop & Modern Specialist

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Ladies And Gentlemen is one of Andy Warhol's most eclectic and dazzling series. Capturing 14 memorable individuals from the New York trans community, this series champions queer self-fashioning and self-invention.

1.

The series depicts 14 trans women living in NYC in 1975.

Ladies and Gentlemen (F. & S. II.129) by Andy WarholLadies and Gentlemen (F. & S. II.129) © Andy Warhol 1975

Warhol's vivacious Ladies And Gentlemen series depicts well known individuals among the gay and trans scene in New York during the 1970s. Out of the 14 models depicted in the series, 13 of their identities are known: Marsha P. Johnson, Alphanso Panell, Iris, Wilhelmina Ross, Broadway, Easha McCleary, Helen/Harry Morales, Ivette, Kim, Lurdes, Michele Long, Monique and Vicki Peters.

2.

Warhol's lively colour palette mimics the artful makeup of drag.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.136) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.136) © Andy Warhol 1975

Though the initial printed portraits in the series are monochromatic black and white, Warhol overlays colour to add dimension and vibrancy to his portraits. Not dissimilar to his Mick Jagger series, which was created in the same year, this colour draws attention to the models' features and the bold makeup of drag.

3.

Warhol only paid his sitters $50-100.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.135) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.135) © Andy Warhol 1975

Despite being commissioned nearly $1 million for this series, Warhol only paid his models $50-100 for their extensive sittings. Marsha P. Johnson, one of the models in the series, commented on the irony of her portrait being sold for thousands of dollars while she struggled to pay rent.

4.

The series was commissioned by Luciano Anselmino.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.134) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.134) © Andy Warhol 1975

Luciano Anselmino, an Italian art dealer and owner of Galleria Il Fauno in Turin, was no stranger to Warhol in 1975. Before commissioning Warhol for Ladies And Gentlemen, Anselmino had patronised an edition of his Man Ray portrait to be completed by the father of Pop.

5.

The series champions the New York trans community.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.130) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.130) © Andy Warhol 1975

Commissioned in response to the death of Candy Darling, the first trans woman known to take hormones, Ladies And Gentlemen is a flamboyant celebration of this eclectic community.

6.

Warhol almost doubled Anselmino's commission.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.131) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.131) © Andy Warhol 1975

Warhol was famously cheap, and refused to work more than absolutely necessary for the right price. However, he almost doubled the number of canvases commissioned by Anselmino, which attests to his attachment to the subjects of this series.

7.

Warhol was fascinated by queer self-fashioning.

 Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.137) by Andy Warhol Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.137) © Andy Warhol 1975

Warhol's fascination with the trans sitters of Ladies And Gentlemen is owed to his ongoing fascination with queer self-fashioning and drag. Six years after the creation of this series, Warhol began to photograph himself in drag, signalling the influence of these prodigies of self-invention.

8.

Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson was one of Warhol's sitters for Ladies And Gentlemen.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.133) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.133) © Andy Warhol 1975

Marsha P. Johnson is now regarded as one of the key figures in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Johnson actively campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights, co-founding the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R) with Sylvia Rivera, until her untimely death in 1992.

9.

The Ladies And Gentlemen portraits are posed.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.128) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.128) © Andy Warhol 1975

Much like the portraits of his other 'Superstars', like Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, and Martha Graham, the trans women represented by Warhol in this series were posed with celebrity glamour. Warhol hardly ever photographed his subjects naturally, opting instead to model them to best reveal their star appeal.

10.

The Ladies And Gentlemen prints were created from Polaroid photographs.

Ladies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.132) by Andy WarholLadies And Gentlemen (F. & S. II.132) © Andy Warhol 1975

In preparation for this series, Warhol snapped over 500 Polaroid photographs of his 14 subjects. This intimate process in the studio encouraged conversation between Warhol and his sitters, allowing the artist to discover more about their lives and unique experiences, all of which shine through in his complete portraits.

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