Immortalising one of the most ionic and glamorous faces of the 20th century, Liz is a print from Andy Warhol’s Liz Taylor series (1964) that features a portrait of the eponymous actress. Distinguishing an entire generation of art, Warhol’s Liz epitomises the artist’s Pop Art style becoming synonymous with the movement as a whole and a symbol of 20th century American culture.
The print shows an image of Taylor based on a publicity photograph from the late 1950s for her film Butterfield 8 tightly cropped and coloured with a bright red background that contours Taylor’s thick, dark hair. With this print, Warhol came to realise the power of his simplified, graphic depictions of immeasurable celebrity, fleeting mortality and unrelenting mass-media, thus inspiring his famed depictions of Marilyn Monroe that took on a similar style.
Exploring the image in a multitude of colours throughout the series Warhol said of his screen printing method, ‘you get the same image, slightly different each time. It was all so simple – quick and chancy. I was thrilled with it.’ The repetition of a single image across the entire series explores the concept of democratising high art and mimics the appearance of prolific mass-media imagery. Alongside Warhol’s use of vivid non-naturalistic colours, the series points to the excessiveness of celebrity culture and the hollowness of fame.