Andy Warhol provides us with a vision of golden age of Hollywood in his print Grace Kelly (F. & S. II.305) from 1984, that features a portrait based on a still from Kelly’s first film Fourteen Hours (1951). As with his portraits of Marylin Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, Warhol depicts Kelly as the classic American beauty, showing an image of the actress looking up to the viewer, with her beautiful features and golden hair taking up the entire pictorial space.
Completed just two years after her tragic death from a car accident, this portrait sits in within the Warholian tradition of depicting quintessential American celebrity icons posthumously. Kelly is memorialised as an icon of popular culture by Warhol through his renowned screen printing technique. Warhol’s use of vivid colours and simplified form replicates the kitsch aesthetic of mass consumer products and works to emphasise the thin veneer of Kelly’s beauty and fame.
Comparable to his portraits from the 1960s such as Marilyn (1967) and Liz (1964) that exemplify Warhol’s infatuation with the concept of stardom and celebrity culture, this later print makes a departure in graphic style. With his use of luminous colour, the blue backdrop and bright yellow hair, and multicoloured lines that contour Kelly’s portrait, Warhol creates a glossy surface to the print, mimicking the visual language of 1980s magazines.