Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) Complete Portfolio (F & S II.22 - 31) For SaleFacts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) Portfolio (F & S II.22 - 31) Year 1967 Size 36″ x 36″ Each 91,4 x 91,4 cm Medium Screenprint on Paper Edition Portfolio of 10. Edition of 250 signed in pencil and numbered with a rubber stamp on verso; some signed in ball-point pen; some initialled on verso; some dated. There are 26 AP signed and lettered A-Z on verso.
Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) Portfolio (F & S II.22 - 31)Meaning & History
"This portfolio demonstrates Warhol’s exceptional skill and technique as a colourist and master manipulator of images whose portraits timelessly endure."
Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) is a portfolio of ten screenprints executed by the artist in 1967. The influence of Warhol’s Marilyn portraits on Modern and Contemporary art is inestimable: ranging from monochromatic to technicolour, his refashioning of one of the most famous faces in the world stands out as an autonomous symbol of the intertwining of art and celebrity. This portfolio demonstrates Warhol’s exceptional skill and technique as a colourist and master manipulator of images whose portraits timelessly endure.
Warhol’s source material for the Marilyn Monroe portfolio is a publicity still from Marilyn’s 1953 film, Niagara. At the time of the screenprint’s creation, Marilyn Monroe had been dead for five years: yet her image was still omnipresent, both in the media and in the American psyche. Warhol has cropped the original image, granting the viewer an intimate and close-up view of the starlet’s face. The artist highlights and magnifies the most unique features of the actress’s beauty: in every example of the suite, her eyes, trademark beauty spot and lips are emboldened by Warhol’s saturation of colour. Integral to the artist’s screenprinting process is the imperfection of ink, creating a lack of subtlety and fine line: Marilyn’s lips appear overdrawn, and her eyeshadow gaudy. This utterly striking, yet somewhat visually jarring effect evokes the obtrusive media circus surrounding the star, and her heavily constructed public image.
In repeating the identical publicity still of Monroe ten times, the seriality of Warhol’s portfolio speak to both the literal seriality of her image – reproduced thousands of times in publications and on television, as well as the metaphorical many ‘Marilyn’s: Norma Jean, the orphan before her Hollywood career, Marilyn the film star and beauty icon, and the private Marilyn, a complex personality with internal struggles. The full spectrum of prints convey this multiplicity: a black and white version (II.24) is a particularly haunting iteration, in contrast to (II.23) which is an aesthetically pleasing and balanced articulation of the actress’s head mint green, peroxide blonde and baby pink. The juxtaposition between light and dark is also a visual manifestation of the star’s untimely passing. Adored by millions, her tragic death sent shockwaves through the public: the most famous star of the silver screen’s image was now inextricably linked and even tainted by fragility and grief.
In his epic Marilyn Monroe portfolio, Warhol immortalised one of the most famous faces in modern history, infusing a ubiquitous image with a vivacious spirit. From this point onwards, the pop artist’s foremost reputation as a portrait artist was without doubt: according to Arthur C Danto, Warhol ‘did more than any other artist to revitalise the practice.’
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