Andy Warhol’s print Marilyn (F. & S. II.26) from his famed Marilyn series made up of 10 screen prints in varying colour combinations, was published by the artist and his assistants under the name Factor Additions in 1967. The print features an iconic portrait of the world-famous actress Marylin Monroe and has become synonymous with 20th century popular culture.
Shortly after her tragic death in 1962, Warhol had depicted Marilyn Monroe in 23 paintings based on a publicity photograph from the film Niagara (1953), cropped to bring greater attention to her features. In this reiteration of the portrait, Warhol has appropriated the same photograph that shows her face turned slightly to her right and lips parted with a smile. The image is flattened and subdued colours of grey, yellow and blue are used against a pop of neon pink of Monroe’s lips and clothing. Warhol was obsessed with reproducing Monroe’s image through the medium of screen printing and this body of work is exemplary of Warhol’s unrivalled graphic exploration in colour, contrast and repetition.
Changing the course of art history, Warhol’s Marilyn series indicative of the artist’s infatuation with celebrity culture and his subsequent willingness to self-publicise. Hitting on the darker side of fame by publishing this print immediately following Monroe’s death, Warhol points to the thin veneer of glamour that her image portrayed in the mass-media.