Famous pop artist Andy Warhol transformed the art world. He used his talent to create beauty from everyday objects. Warhol is best known for his renditions of everything from Campbell’s soup cans to Coca-Cola. Some of his most legendary and well-known works are those of celebrities whose influence on popular culture has made them icons. These included Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Muhammed Ali, Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
The latter’s portrait has since become the highest-grossing work of art in American history. However, what was the tragic reason why Warhol decided to paint the legendary sex symbol in the first place?
Why did Andy Warhol paint celebrities?
Warhol became legendary for his use of bright colors and artwork featuring everyday objects. He also painted portraits of some of the most iconic celebrities in modern history.
As if examining the future of stardom today, Warhol predicted that anyone could find 15 minutes of fame. However, what they did with that fame cemented their place in popular culture.
Some of Warhol’s most famous works of art were his depictions of celebrities.
Fascinated by the idea of fame, Warhol captured some of the most iconic celebrities of his generation.
The Tragic Reason Why Andy Warhol Painted Marilyn Monroe
Monroe was working on her latest film, something must give when she died of an overdose of sleeping pills in 1962.
This tragedy shocked the entertainment industry.
Her untimely death prompted Warhol to make Monroe the first subject of his new screen printing technique.
The painting is based on an image of a still screen from the 1953 film Monroe niagara.
Warhol spoke about the artistic technique used to create the Popism impression in 1980, as reported by MOMA.
“The rubber stamp method I was using to repeat the images suddenly felt too artisanal; I wanted something stronger that gave more of an assembly line effect. With screen printing, you choose a photo, fluff it up, transfer it to glue on silk, then roll ink over it. The ink goes through the silk but not the glue,” Warhol explained.
“That way you get the same, slightly different image every time. It all seems so simple, quick and random. I was delighted. My first experiences with screens were with the heads of Troy Donahue and Warren Beatty. When Marilyn Monroe died that month (August 1962), I had the idea to make screens of her beautiful face.
Warhol’s ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ is the highest-grossing painting sold at auction by an American artist
In March 2022, The New York Times announced that “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” would be auctioned through Christie’s New York.
Subsequently, the money generated by the sale of the painting benefits the Thomas and Doris Ammann Foundation in Zurich. This organization supports health care and educational programs for children.
In just four minutes, the 1964 serigraph sold for $195 million.
This award made Warhol’s interpretation of Marilyn the highest-grossing American work of art at auction.
“The most important 20th century painting to come to auction in a generation. Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn” is the absolute pinnacle of American pop and the promise of the American dream. Encapsulating both optimism, fragility, fame and iconography,” Alex Rotter, Christie’s President for the 20th and 21st Centuries, told The New York Times.
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