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Andy Warhol Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Warhol was born in Pittsburgh. He is a founder and major figure of the POP ART movement. Warhol pioneered the development of the process whereby an enlarged photographic image is transferred to a silk screen that is then placed on a canvas and inked from the back. It was this technique that enabled him to produce the series of mass-media images - repetitive, yet with slight variations. These, incorporating such items as Campbell's Soup cans, dollar bills, Coca-Cola bottles, and the faces of celebrities, comment on the banality, harshness, and ambiguity of American culture. Andy traveled around the country with The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed and John Cale). In 1968, Valerie Solanis, a rejected superstar, came into The Factory and shot Andy three times, he was pronounced dead, but after having his chest cut open, he survived.


Self-Portrait, 1986. Silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 106 x 106 inches. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Gift, Anne and Anthony d’Offay. 92.4033.

Warhol’s death and disaster pictures underscore the importance of the vanitas theme—that death will take us all—in his oeuvre. Self-Portrait, one of the last self-portraits Warhol painted before his death, may be considered the anxious meditation of an aging artist. (Other works he painted in his final year include a posthumous portrait of Joseph Beuys, who died in 1986, and a rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.) The monumental scale of Self-Portrait suggests that Warhol’s obsession with celebrity encompassed himself. Yet unlike nearly all of his portraits, which commonly include the sitter’s neck and shoulders, this otherworldly image presents the artist as spectral, his acid green, disembodied head like a skull looming out of the black background.
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