The portrait is based on a still from Grace Kelly’s first film Fourteen Hours, from 1951. It shows the actress looking defiantly at the camera, her face tightly cropped so that her features and golden hair fill the entire foreground of the image.
The prints in Warhol’s Grace Kelly collection are each produced using his classic screen printing method. Beginning with lithography and monoprinting, Warhol first experimented with this method of screen printing in the early 1960s.
Completed just two years after her tragic death from a car accident, this portrait sits within the Warholian tradition of depicting quintessential American celebrity icons posthumously.
Warhol’s use of vivid colours and simplified form replicates the kitsch aesthetic of mass consumer products and works to emphasise the thin veneer of Kelly’s beauty and fame.
Warhol creates a glossy surface to this print that mimics the visual language of 1980s magazines.
The Grace Kelly prints have strong parallels with the Marilyn and Liz prints in terms of subject, composition and thematics. The fact that the Grace Kelly prints were produced nearly 20 years later is a testament to Warhol’s consistency as an artist.
Characteristic of Warhol’s later, more commercial prints produced after 1970, the Grace Kelly series features multicoloured lines that contour the sitter’s face.
Andy Warhol’s print series were renowned for their experiments in varying colourways. This particular collection used the same image across 20 different colourways, the most famous depicting Kelly with golden hair against a pale blue background.
Far reaching its pre-sale estimate of €140,000-€180,000, a version of Grace Kelly sold for a total of €275,000 at Lempertz auction house in Cologne on 3rd December 2021. Before this sale, the print was acquired at the benefit auction in aid of the Ronald McDonald Children’s Fund in 2001 in Amsterdam.
Grace Kelly (F.&.S. II.305) sold at David Rago in the US for a total of US$ 212,500 on 16th June 2022. This was the last time a Grace Kelly print appeared at auction.