Warhol created the Moonwalk series to depict the Apollo 11 mission of 1969, when man landed on the moon for the first time.
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.
Completed in 1987, Warhol died shortly after the Moonwalk suite was completed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A complete set of the series, Moonwalk (F. & S.II.404) and Moonwalk (F. & S.II.405), sold at Christie’s in October 2022 for a total of £388,829, a record price for the portfolio.
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.