Portrait of a Lady. 1985. Synthetic acrylic colors and silkscreen on canvas. Signed, dated and inscribed with a personal dedication on the folded canvas on verso. 101.6 x 101.6 cm (40 x 40 in) . [CH].
- Unique object. - Female portraits like those of Liz Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, etc. count among the artist's most sought-after and most highly paid motifs.
PROVENANCE: Galerie Rudolf Budja, Salzburg. Private collection Northern Germany (acquired from aforementioned).
LITERATURE: Christie’s New York, Auction 1835, Post War and Contemporary Art Morning Session, May 17, 2007, lot 189.
After a longer period of activity as film maker Andy Warhol intensified his picture production again in the 1980s. The portraits provided the artist’s main source of income and had respective priority– no matter what other project he was occupied with, in some corner of his loft several portraits were always simultaneously in the making. This way he offered his financially strong clients the opportunity to be included into his Pantheon of celebrities. In line with his famous quote "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes", he allowed them to be famous through the typical Warhol representation alone. The identity of the lady in "Portrait of a Lady" can’t be clearly determined, it is likely that she was one of his many clients from the New York High Society. However, her appearance is not any less impressive than it is the case with Andy Warhol’s portraits of Elizabeth Taylor or Liza Minelli. The observer becomes curious and wants to find out who this person is that the artist rendered in such as larger-than-life and impressive presence. Her complexion is kept in a single color without any further grading. It is bright, even and dignified, it underlines the beauty and perfection of the unknown lady. The slightly turned head emphasizes her neck and calls reminiscence of depictions of gracious women in the art of Mannerism. Classic ideals of beauty meet popular culture in this work. Even though the examination of the concept of portrait art can be found throughout his entire oeuvre, stylistic and technical innovations found their way into his late body of works. A paradigm shift in the handling of original and edition can be observed, too, as the artist began to be more considerate of his clients’ wish to own a unique work of art. The number of works with one and the same motif decreased, the variations became more manifold. The works appear to be more perfect in form, the flaws that he accepted as given in the process of making of earlier works yielded to a more opaque and apparently perfect color application. [CE]