Andy Warhol Reigning Queens Portfolio (Queen Elizabeth) (F & S II.334 - 349) For SaleFacts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title Reigning Queens (Queen Elizabeth) (F & S II.334 - 349) Year 1985 Size 39 3/8″ x 31 1/2″ Each Medium Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board Edition Portfolio of 4. Edition of 40, 10 AP, 5 PP, 3 HC, 30 TP containing only one image of each queen, signed and numbered in pencil. There is also a Royal Edition of 30, 5 AP, 2PP, and 2 HC, sprinkled with diamond dust, notated as FS.II 334A-337A.
Andy Warhol Reigning Queens (Queen Elizabeth) (F & S II.334 - 349)Meaning & History
"Known for silkscreening consumerist products and celebrity icons, Warhol’s choice to devote a series to Royalty makes his interest in prominent people one of an international scale."
Reigning Queens is a series of portfolios of Queens from around the world executed by Warhol in 1985. The present ambitious series takes a photograph of the English Queen Elizabeth for her Silver Jubilee in 1977. The screenprints are outstanding for being the only portraits in the Royal Collection that the Queen did not sit for or commission, highlighting the artist’s reputation as a trailblazer and shaker of convention.
Queen Elizabeth appears in her Silver Jubilee portrait in a Tiara, Sash and diamond and pearl necklace, symbols of her authority and of national wealth. Warhol has altered these ceremonial adornments into fashion accessories: changing the colour of her bodice, necklace and sash in each and every colourway in the suite. With the addition of ruby red lipstick in II.377 the viewer sees that Warhol has transformed the monarch into a beauty and glamour icon: fragmented blocks of child-like colour also surround her, creating a painterly image. It is no doubt a portrayal that the Queen found flattering, in contrast to the sometimes sterile, official representations – indeed, the Queen’s Private Secretary wrote to Warhol’s European dealer that ‘her majesty was most interested and pleased to see’ the silkscreens.
Known for silkscreening consumerist products and celebrity icons, Warhol’s choice to devote a series to Royalty makes his interest in prominent people one of an international scale. Elizabeth who was not just the reigning Queen of the United Kingdom, but of the Commonwealth, is perhaps the most iconic of Warhol’s Royal Subjects.
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