Diamond Dust Shoes by Andy Warhol

Diamond Dust Shoes Andy Warhol

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As a highly successful commercial illustrator in 1950s New York, Warhol was renowned for his drawings of shoes. During his formative career he drew shoes for Glamour magazine, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and the I. Miller shoe company. These early images foreground Warhol’s draughtsmanship and innovative approach to colour and composition. His fashion and beauty magazine illustrations are celebrations of elegance and glamour. They also crucially demonstrate the artist embracing the power of the image in an era of growing consumerism, a concept that would become central to the Pop Art movement. In the 1980s, the artist returned to the subject of shoes when he was commissioned to produce images for fashion designer and friend, Roy Halston Frowick. Halston was a legendary figure, and the subject of a number of Warhol’s photographs and paintings. Warhol received a box of shoes and emptied the contents onto his studio floor. The artist took Polaroids of this spontaneous still life, and this formed the basis of the Diamond Dust Shoes paintings.

Diamond Dust Shoes is a stunning example of the artist’s late career ingenuity, in which he revisited his early subject matter. In 1979, he began the Retrospectives and Reversals series, reimagining subjects such as the Campbell’s Soup Cans and Electric Chairs. Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes continue the artist’s re-examination of his past work, yet, his chosen subject is recast in a distinctly late 20th century hue. Gone are the whimsical blotted line depictions of shoes, and in their place are clusters of shoes jostling for space, as if seen on a night club dance floor: doused in glitz and set against shadowy black backgrounds.

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