Andy Warhol exhibits his enchantment with fame and royalty in his Queen Margrethe Of Denmark (F. & S. II.342) print that forms part of his Reigning Queensseries from 1985. The female monarchs that he depicts would each have been reigning at the time Warhol made the prints. This print shows the traditional state portrait of Queen Margrethe, transformed into a lively Pop Art icon through the use of vivacious colours and flattened form.
Warhol references the art historical genre of the history painting, appropriating the traditional portrait of Queen Margrethe and revitalising her as a glamour icon, now visually consumed by popular kitsch culture. The image has blocks of blue, yellow, red and pink colour that are seemingly collaged onto the print and Warhol draws attention to Queen Margrethe’s jewellery and facial features with freely drawn coloured lines. Her block blue dress is contrasted against a light purple background creating a pleasant colour clash that renders the portrait even more striking.
Playing with the notion that the regal figures that Warhol depicts would have their portraits widely distributed to the masses on stamps, currency and mass-media, the artist uses the screen printing method to replicate this repetition of their image. The Reigning Queen series makes a statement on the way in which mass-produced images are used as symbols of power, as well as the way in which the monarch’s face has become a reproducible commodity.