1928-1987 | American
Andy Warhol Estate stamps (en verso)
Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
With his unprecedented artistic exploration, Andy Warhol is celebrated as one of the most critically important artists of the 20th century. His haunting Shadow series from the late 1970s and early 1980s remains one of his most emotive motifs, representing the artist's brief departure from the figurative. Warhol's fleeting engagement with Abstract Expressionism was made manifest in six distinctive abstract series from the period: Oxidation, Shadow, Egg, Yarn, Rorschach and Camouflage. While all are highly important in the artist's oeuvre, Shadow is undoubtedly his most meditative exploration of abstraction; the present example illustrates Warhol's genius interplay of light and shadow in the groundbreaking series.
Visually similar to the works of Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline, Warhol's Shadow represents an intriguing marriage of Pop art and abstraction. The work is derived from a photograph taken at his New York studio, The Factory, and has been executed using the silkscreen process that Warhol himself legitimized. Yet, the aesthetics of the work are almost wholly Ab-Ex in style; whether Warhol is paying homage to the greats who came before him or parodying them is a matter of debate. Either way, the work represents a fascinating visual dialogue between two behemoths of 20th-century American art.
Above all, Shadow offers a compelling glimpse into Warhol's psyche. Despite the fact that his motifs are oft-repeated, they remain highly personal, and each work is unique. The Shadow series was created during a time when Warhol was more and more preoccupied with the idea of darkness in death, and memento mori frequently featured in his works from the period. Shadow presents a similarly sinister quality; though derived from a photograph, the figure itself is hidden in shadow, leaving only a dark, enigmatic absence. Pared down to the barest essentials, Warhol's Shadow reveals the artist at his most vulnerable — and his most innovative.
One of the most iconic artists in history, Warhol was known for making art his “brand” and raising questions about originality and reproduction, as well as the nature of celebrity, persona and the outward image. Born Andrej Varhola, Jr. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928, Warhol first made a name for himself as a commercial artist, quickly becoming one of the most successful illustrators of his time. He won numerous awards for his work from the Art Directors Club and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and his clients included Tiffany & Co., The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and others. It was in the late 1950s that he focused more of his attention on his painting.
The artist's 1962 series of Campbell's Soup Cans created a sensation in the art world and launched him into the realm of celebrity. His iconic studio, painted silver and known as the Factory, became the place to be in New York. Surrounding himself with an ever-rotating group of hipsters and starlets like The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground and Edie Sedgwick, he also extended his talents into other fields such as film, publishing, writing, television and music. Except for a brief period in the mid-1960s, he would continue to paint until the end of his life. He was a mentor and inspiration to such artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, and by the time of his death, he was one of the most prolific and well-known artists the world had ever seen.
Canvas: 14" high x 11" wide
Frame: 22" high x 19 1/4" wide