Monday, July 9, 2012

Warhol, Andy

Offset lithograph on paper
59.06 x 59.06 cm (23.25 x 23.25 in.)
private collection

Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987) was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States of America dedicated to a single artist.

Warhol's artwork ranged in many forms of media that include hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1985, just before his death in 1987. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.

Fascinated by famous personalities, Andy Warhol created hundreds of portraits of celebrities, actors, musicians and the art world elite. In this stunning portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, Warhol depicts the British-born American actress against a solid red background, a composition that calls attention to the contrast between her flawless, porcelain-like skin and deep black hair. As in many of his portraits from this time, Warhol accentuates only one or two of his sitter's facial features, in this case highlighting Liz's blue eyes with a generous swath of teal-colored eye-shadow and plumping her lips with bright red lipstick.