Andy Warhol Self-Portrait (F & S II.16)Facts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title: Self-Portrait (F & S II.16) Year: 1966 Size 23 x 23″ 58.4 x 58.4cm Medium: Offset lithograph on silver coated paper. Edition: 300 signed and numbered in ball-point pen on verso; some signed on recto. Published to announce a Warhol exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, April 2-April 27, 1966.
Andy Warhol Self-Portrait (F & S II.16)Meaning & History
‘Warhol’s 1966 Self-Portrait is probably the most well-known of the three versions he produced during the 1960s, and with his self-portrait of 1986, one of the most representative and iconic images of the artist.' George Frei
Self-Portrait is a screenprint on silver-coated paper produced in the artist in 1966. Now-iconic, the pop artist was famed for self-portraits, of which this is the earliest printed edition, allowing a privileged insight into the artist’s inner world and his desired representation.
The photograph used for Self-Portrait was taken by Rudolph Burkhardt. Due to Warhol’s position and its black and white composition, the artist appears enigmatic in Self-Portrait: although looking level with the viewer, he seems deep in thought, enhanced by the placement of the hand under the chin. Compared with later portraits such as Portrait (Fright Wig), executed in 1986, where the artist emphasised a constructed image of the self – wearing a large, blonde wig, this image instead shows a much more introspective look at the man behind some of the most famous paintings of the twentieth century. Although Warhol has forsaken costume in this version, it is not without an element of Warholian artifice: for art historian Robert Rosenblum, in Warhol’s self-portraits he seems ‘even in the same work, both vulnerable and invulnerable, both superficial and profound.’ (Andy Warhol’s Disguises, Robert Rosenblum). These contradictions could not be more fitting for an artist whose work explored the world of celebrity and consumerism: the cultural ferment of the twentieth century could create a heavily mediated, and fragmented version of the self.
Warhol would go on to use this same image seen here for a series of nine silkscreen paintings, solidifying its importance in his body of work. According to George Frei, ‘Warhol’s 1966 Self-Portrait is probably the most well-known of the three versions he produced during the 1960s, and with his self-portrait of 1986, one of the most representative and iconic images of the artist’.
A copy of this iconic work is held in The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York and was exhibited in 2002 "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection’.
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