Covering the full scope of Warhol’s prints career, we invite you to ponder the artist’s complex and often confusing relationship to the ideals of femininity, beauty, and power in celebration of International Women’s Day. Warhol depicted an astonishing range of women, from royalty and Hollywood stars to drag queens and inhabitants of the underground art scene. Portraying defiance, vulnerability and sometimes unease, these portraits make us question female empowerment, ownership of gender and identity through images that have become even more famous than the women themselves.
Andy Warhol’s Marilyn series is distinctly recognisable. It is a vibrant and glamorous portrayal of the actress Marilyn Monroe that has become symbolic of 20th century popular culture. The series exemplifies Warhol’s pioneering printmaking technique, a medium that the artist found best suited his mission to reflect the icons and products of mass culture at the time. READ MORE
Andy Warhol’s portrait of Grace Kelly was commissioned and published in 1984 by the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. The portrait is based on a still from Kelly’s first film Fourteen Hours, from 1951, and shows the actress looking defiantly at the camera her face tightly cropped so that her features and golden hair form the entire foreground of the image. Warhol has added his characteristic lines to the image transforming photo into drawing, and overlaid it with block colours that serve to enhance the contours and shadows of her iconic face. READ MORE
Warhol was fascinated by celebrity and stardom. Some of his most successful and enduring artworks capture the idols of American popular culture at the height of their fame. His portraits of Elizabeth Taylor entitled Liz, fall into this canon; depicting the actress in the artist’s signature graphic style and intense colour palette, they are both uniquely Warhol and archetypally Pop. READ MORE
Though Marilyn might be the most famous of Warhol’s Hollywood muses, the Pop artist also dedicated a whole portfolio of prints to Ingrid Berman, a classic beauty and star of such films as Joan of Arc. The works were made in 1983 – just four year before Warhol’s death – at the request of a Swedish gallery – Galerie Borjeson in Malmo – who later published the suite. The series, produced towards the end of Warhol’s life, showcases the artist’s enduring fascination with celebrity and the way in which fame could elevate a mere mortal to the status of goddess. READ MORE
In 1963, the United States was brought to a standstill by the assassination of President John F Kennedy. According to reports Warhol seemed unmoved by the event, however, his interest was later piqued by the images of the grief stricken Jackie Kennedy plastered across newspapers and bulletins at the time. That same year Warhol decided to make a portfolio of Jackie prints, choosing two photographs of her wearing her pink Chanel suit before the assassination, two from the swearing in of Lyndon B Johnson and four from her husband’s funeral. In this way, Warhol’s portfolio presents a portrait of grief haunted by the spectre of past happiness. READ MORE
After he became known for making Pop Art portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizbeth Taylor and Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol was soon in demand for commissions from wealthy patrons who also wanted to be immortalised in print. John and Kimiko Powers had a large collection of Pop Art and in 1972 John commissioned Warhol to make a portrait of his wife. READ MORE
Andy Warhol’s artistic career was defined by his portrayal of notorious individuals across disciplines, including movie starts, musicians, athletes, and dancers. It is no surprise, therefore, that Warhol chose to depict the renowned dancer Martha Graham, an internationally recognised performer and choreographer responsible for revolutionising dance technique in the 20th century. Graham was described as the ‘Picasso of Dance,’ and Warhol’s representation of her serves to enhance her prominence in the history of the performing arts. READ MORE