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the Party

Released in a signed edition of 100, Andy Warhol’s After The Party (1979) is tinged with the glamour and hedonism of his Factory’s heyday. Primarily his studio, the Factory was also a notorious party venue for Warhol’s entourage—After the Party shares this buzzing atmosphere, but has a more reflective undertone, too.

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Meaning & Analysis

After the Party illustrates the aftermath of a raucous soiree, haphazard and effortless in composition and indicative of Warhol’s own lifestyle Through the work’s haphazard and effortless composition of empty glasses, ash trays, cigarette butts and clutter, there is a key sense of disarray, a feeling of gluttony. This is in part due to the photographic quality of the work, the chaotic arrangement of the glasses and the vivid tints that outline the objects.

The Factory, Warhol's famous studio, closed in 1987, so it was at the very height of the Factory’s lifetime in 1979, that Warhol printed and published his After the Party series.

When Warhol opened the Factory in 1964. It was a space where he created his most famous works and where celebrities flocked to, it soon became New York’s hottest and most exclusive party spot in town. The party guests were eccentric, provocative and, most of all, famous. Warhol admitted to using the social scene of the Factory as a space to study the life of celebrities and as he did too many, paint them. “I’ve always been fascinated by the assumptions that rich kids make,” Warhol said. “A lot of them think it’s normal, the way they live – because it’s all they’ve ever known. I love to watch their minds operate.”

The entire print run has the overall appearance of a series of exposure photographs. There has always been an inextricable link between Warhol, photography and his art. He referred to his Polaroid Big Shot camera as, his “pencil and paper”. The Polaroid prints served as subjects for Warhol's drawings, silkscreens and paintings and were often also used as preliminary inspiration.

The prints evoke ideas of gilded prosperity and excess of some apparent glamour, hiding something darker. Each print of After the Party has a unique colourful addition outlining the objects within the composition, making no two prints completely alike. This outline, which Warhol worked with his printer to produce, was there to highlight objects and break up the monochromatic black and white. Effectively, it seemingly alluding to the hazy effects of alcohol and drugs. Each colour in the series that form the outlines were created by a separate screen print a technically intricate process, varying each printed screen print and putting them highly in demand.

10 Facts About Andy Warhol's After The Party

Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II.254) by Andy Warhol

Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II.254) © Andy Warhol 1980

1. After The Party alludes to the raucous parties hosted by Warhol.

Throughout his reign as the ’Prince of Pop’, Warhol was both host and participant of some of the most outlandish parties in New York. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Warhol's Factory became the party destination for the city's celebrities and eccentrics. With empty glasses, bottles of champagne and ashtrays littered on the table, After The Party immortalises one of Warhol's exuberant nights out.

Dollar Sign Quad (F. & S. II.283) by Andy Warhol

Dollar Sign Quad (F. & S. II.283) © Andy Warhol 1982

2. Gluttony underscores the series.

After The Party documents an array of glasses, champagne and wine bottles, plates of food and ashtrays, which seem to have been abandoned by drunken party guests. The sheer excess of the spread, and the lack of people eating and drinking it, pronounces the gluttony and excess of the party on show.

After The Party (F. & S. II.183) by Andy Warhol

After The Party (F. & S. II.183) © Andy Warhol 1979

3. Warhol's dizzying palette refers to the hazy effects of drugs and alcohol.

Outlined in a rainbow from left to right, Warhol's cutlery and crockery is animated with the spirit of the party. The colourful outlines, which are intentionally off-centre, speak to the intoxicating effects of the drugs and alcohol being passed around Warhol's parties.

Mick Jagger (F. & S. II.138) by Andy Warhol

Mick Jagger (F. & S. II.138) © Andy Warhol 1975

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