10 Facts About Andy Warhol's Moonwalk

Written by - MyArtBroker
Moonwalk Portfolio by Andy WarholMoonwalk Portfolio © Andy Warhol, 1971
Toni Clayton

Toni Clayton, American Pop & Modern Specialist

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Completed in that last few months of Andy Warhol's life, the Moonwalk portfolio depicts one of the biggest moments in human history.

1.

Moonwalk depicts a profound moment in human history.

Moonwalk (F. & S. II.404) by Andy WarholMoonwalk (F. & S. II.404) © Andy Warhol, 1987

Warhol created the Moonwalk series to depict the Apollo 11 mission of 1969, when man landed on the moon for the first time.

2.

This series is produced from an original photograph.

Moonwalk (F. & S. II.405) by Andy WarholMoonwalk (F. & S. II.405) © Andy Warhol, 1987

For this portfolio, Warhol turns Neil Armstrong’s photograph of Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon into a Pop Art masterpiece. Warhol adds colour and highlights to the original image in order to transform the original photograph.

3.

This series was produced in the last months of Warhol’s life.

The Shadow (unique) by Andy WarholThe Shadow (unique) © Andy Warhol, 1981

Completed in 1987, Warhol died shortly after the Moonwalk suite was completed.

4.

This series was produced almost 20 years after the event itself.

Marilyn (F. & S. II.21) by Andy WarholMarilyn (F. & S. II.21) © Andy Warhol, 1967

Though one might expect this work to have been done at the time of the moon landings in 1969, the prints were actually made in 1987, just a few months before Warhol’s death.

5.

Warhols initials can be seen in this print collection.

Self Portrait (Fright Wig) by Andy WarholImage ⓒ trevor.patt / Self Portrait (Fright Wig) ⓒ Andy Warhol 1986

Across Buzz Aldrin’s visor, Warhol’s initials ‘AW’ can be spotted. This is a typical ironic addition made by the artist, adding himself onto the surface of a historic moment in human history, akin to the placement of the American flag on the surface of the moon.

6.

The prints were intended to be part of a larger collection.

Paramount (F. & S. II.352) by Andy WarholParamount (F. & S. II.352) © Andy Warhol, 1985

The prints were intended to be part of a larger series titled TV which would include other key moments from America’s history such as a still of Martin Luther King Jr giving his famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech and the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

7.

Warhol’s death prevented the completion of this series.

Electric Chair (F. & S. II.74) by Andy WarholElectric Chair (F. & S. II.74) © Andy Warhol, 1971

Warhol’s untimely death from surgery complications meant that Moonwalk is the only print that was completed, making this an extremely sought after work in his oeuvre.

8.

The Moon portfolio is produced in two colourways.

Moonwalk Portfolio by Andy WarholMoonwalk Portfolio © Andy Warhol, 1971

Warhol created this portfolio manipulating the original photograph into two different colourways. One of the prints shows Aldrin in a white space suit, whereas the other shows him in a bright pink spacesuit.

9.

The record price for the Moonwalk series at auction is £347,250.

Dollar (F. & S. II.278) by Andy WarholDollar (F. & S. II.278) © Andy Warhol, 1982

A complete set of the series, Moonwalk (F. & S.II.404) and Moonwalk (F. & S.II.405), sold at Christie’s in March 2019 for a total of £347,250, a record price for the portfolio.

10.

The Moonwalk portfolio last sold at auction in September 2021.

Dollar Sign 9 by Andy WarholDollar Sign 9 © Andy Warhol, 1982

The last time the Moonwalk portfolio went up for auction was on 17 September 2021, at Clars Auction Gallery in the United States. The collection sold for a total of US$350,000, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of US$100,000 - US$200,000.

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