Andy Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen series, began in 1975, and it was the first major thematic series in which the artist used Polaroid photographs as his source of images. In conjunction with LGBT Pride month, the Andy Warhol sale at Christie’s, London will feature a unique grouping of artworks. The collection from the A. W. Foundation for the Visual Arts and Andy’s Eye Candy features over 100 photographs, prints and drawings and provides never before insight into Warhol’s world and personal relationships.
Andy Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen series, began in 1975, and it was the first major thematic series in which the artist used Polaroid photographs as his source images. The complete set of ten screenprints in colours, on Arches wove paper, each signed and dated in pencil on the reverse, numbered 77/125 (there were also 25 artist’s proofs), published by L. Anselmino, Milan, the full sheets, the colours fresh, F.& S. II.130 damaged at the centre of the subject and with a large paper loss in the upper sheet, some sheets stained at the sheet edges, some with minor surface dirt, creases and some foxing and staining on the reverse are available at Christies, London.
In contrast to his earlier portraits, the 1970s and 1980s works reveal Warhol’s experimentation with photographic images that he took himself. Surrounded at every turn by Factory groupies, celebrities and socialites, Warhol embraced the advantages of the snap-shot aesthetic provided by the Polaroid camera to capture hundreds of expressions, gestures and moments.
In characteristic fashion, Warhol conceptualized this seminal series through a playful and clever lens; his subjects are ladies in terms of gender and gentlemen in terms of sex. The present work, executed in 1975, is a striking example from the series. The intimacy of the paintings scale complements the intimacy of the interaction between the two figures, the silhouettes of their faces nearly fusing into one. Against a background of rich maroon browns, swipes and swathes of vibrant pink, purple, and blue add a dimension of rich chromatic intensity. The area of heavy black impasto that frames the face of the frontal figure distinguishes this painting from Warhol’s highly mechanical silkscreened works of the 1960s, effectively belying his infamous declaration “I just want to be a machine.” Traces of the artist’s hand are undeniably present here as Warhol pushes the figure-ground relationship to new extremes, with the dissonance between silk-screened and painted ground implying a further abstraction of the self.
All works from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts will be sold with a Certificate of Provenance, indicating the work originates from the Estate of Andy Warhol, and thence, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Christie’s will maintain a database of these purchases which will be used to substantiate provenance in the future and supply relevant information to the Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné.
Further, each work is stamped with Estate of Andy Warhol and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. stamps unless the work cannot physically be stamped whereas a separate document containing the stamps will accompany the work, or when the work is a signed and numbered editioned print.