ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)
ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)
ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)
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ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)

Muhammad Ali

细节
ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)
Muhammad Ali
inscribed 'I certify that this is an orig. painting by Andy Warhol completed by him in 1978 Frederick Hughes' (on the overlap); signed by Muhammad Ali (on the reverse)
acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
40 x 40 in. (101.6 x 101.6 cm.)
Painted in 1977.
来源
Richard L. Weisman, Seattle, acquired directly from the artist
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 11 May 2011, lot 54
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
出版
P. Shea, ed., Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection, New York and Los Angeles, 2003 (illustrated on the cover).
N. Printz and S. King-Nero, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings 1976-1978, vol. 5A, New York, 2018, pp. 339 and 341, no. 3718 (illustrated).
展览
Columbus, Pace/Columbus, Andy Warhol, March-April 1978.
London, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Athletes by Andy Warhol, June-July 1978.
East Hampton, Vered Gallery, Andy Warhol, 2004.
London, Martin Summers Fine Art, Andy Warhol: The Athlete Series, May-June 2007, pp. 8 and 80 (illustrated).
Beijing, Galleri Faurschou, Andy Warhol: Sports, Stars and Society, July-September 2008, p. 8 (illustrated).
Bloomfield Hills, Cranbrook Art Museum, Andy Warhol: Grand Slam, 2008-2009.
Athens, Byzantine & Christian Museum, Warhol/Icon: The Creation of Image, October 2009-January 2010, pp. 40-41 (illustrated).

荣誉呈献

Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-head of 20th Century Evening Sale

拍品专文

“…the sports stars of today are the movie stars of yesterday.”Andy Warhol

With his clarion call of “I am the greatest…,” the boxer Muhammad Ali became one of the most iconic sporting figures of the Twentieth Century. This striking portrait by Andy Warhol not only celebrates his achievements as world heavyweight champion, but also his larger-than-life personality, and his role as a civil rights champion. Part of Warhol’s celebrated Athletes series, the twelve paintings were a departure from the artist’s usual panoply of movie stars and music celebrities as athletes and sports stars began to take center stage in global popular culture. With a remarkable degree of foresight, Warhol declared “…the sports stars of today are the movie stars of yesterday” (A. Warhol, quoted in P. Shea, Picasso to Pop: The Richard Wiseman Collection, New York, 2003, p. 28). The remaining works from this complete set of nine canvases will be sold in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale on Friday November 12th.

With his steely glare, and his fists raised in a typical boxer’s stance, Muhammad Ali’s imposing likeness fills the entire picture plane. The purple ground gives the work a regal quality, accentuating the boxer’s distinctive silhouette, and drawing the eye forward to the boxer’s fists. Unlike Warhol’s earlier celebrity portraits, in Muhammad Ali, Warhol elaborates Ali’s images with a series of discreet expressionistic embellishments, produced by physically manipulating the painted surface directly with his fingers. These streaks and striations also add a distinct sense of dynamism to the composition, recreating the lightening speed of Ali’s fast moving left/right jabs.

The series developed out of a conversation between Warhol and the L.A. collector Richard L. Weisman. For Weisman, the connection between art and sport was obvious: “I felt putting the series together was natural, in that two of the most popular leisure activities at the time were sports and art, yet to my knowledge they had no direct connection. Therefore I thought that having Andy do the series would inspire people who loved sport to come into galleries, maybe for the first time, and people who liked art would take their first look at a sports superstar” (R. Weisman quoted in K. Casprowiak, ‘Warhol’s Athlete Series Celebrity Sport Stars’, Andy Warhol: The Athlete Series, London, 2007, p. 71).

Warhol then spent two years photographing the athletes. Used to mixing with the movie, fashion and music stars that used to inhabit his world, Warhol must have felt slightly out of his depth with the stars of a world he knew nothing about. Using his Polaroid Big Shot camera, he took around sixty images of each person, of which he would then select four to be made into screens. Ali was a notoriously difficult subject to photograph, but the image that Warhol was able to capture is extraordinarily powerful, and one which succinctly and successfully captures the many sides of Ali’s complex personality. When Warhol finished the series, Weisman presented the boxer with one of the portraits as a gift. Taking a good long look, Ali declared, “This is by far the best painting I have ever had of myself.” Weisman acknowledged, “It’s a strong painting,” to which Ali replied, “I can also see a softness and a compassion. As a matter of fact, I can see many moods” (M. Ali, quoted in V. Bockris, Muhammad Ali: In Fighter’s Heaven, New York, 1998, p. 127).

“This is by far the best painting I have ever had of myself…I can also see a softness and a compassion. As a matter of fact, I can see many moods.”(M. Ali, quoted in V. Bockris, Muhammad Ali: In Fighter’s Heaven, New York, 1998, p. 127)

At the time his portrait was painted, Muhammad Ali was arguably the most famous sportsman in the world. In 1974, he had defeated George Foreman in one of the most historic sporting events of all time, the “Rumble in the Jungle,” which took place in a packed stadium of 60,000 fans in Kinshasa, Zaire. I t is estimated that a further 1 billion fans watched the televised fight on TV sets around the world. At the time, Foreman was the undefeated world heavyweight champion, and Ali’s victory was a major upset. He won by knocking out Foreman in the eighth round. As the crowd went wild, TV personality David Frost cried out, “The great man has done it! This is the most joyous scene ever seen in the history of boxing!” (D. Frost, quoted in N. Mailer, The Fight, New York, 1975, p. 210). That match was followed by the equally historic 1975 battle between Ali and Joe Frazier known as the “Thrilla in Manila.” After a grueling fourteen rounds, Frazier’s trainer conceded defeat, and Ali won by a technical knock-out. He later said that was the closest he had ever come to dying in the ring.

Muhammad Ali is an important painting in Warhol’s development of his portrait paintings. They are among the artist’s most significant works and chart the success of his career. His early portraiture, featuring the likes of Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, did much to reinvigorate a medium which many had regarded as old-fashioned and obsolete. With his works from the 1960s, he turned pre-existing publicity photographs and other images into the modern day equivalent of religious icons. The present work, and the others in the Athletes series are clearly the direct descendent of these Pop icons of the 1960s, and by using sports stars who harnessed the power of the media to reach the worldwide fame, Warhol brings his examination of contemporary celebrity right up to date.

“I felt putting the series together was natural, in that two of the most popular leisure activities at the time were sports and art, yet to my knowledge they had no direct connection.”(R. Weisman quoted in K. Casprowiak, ‘Warhol’s Athlete Series Celebrity Sport Stars’, Andy Warhol: The Athlete Series, London, 2007, p. 71).

They also confirm Warhol’s remarkable ability to capture the zeitgeist of the times. When assembled together, they portray the energy and remarkable prowess of a generation of athletes who were among the first to take advantage of the endorsements and other monetary benefits that professional sportsmanship offered them. With rapid increase in the commercialization of sport, each of these faces was instantly recognizable to the public. They appeared in magazines and billboards across the nation, promoting everything from sportswear, to cars and breakfast cereals. As such, with Muhammad Ali, Warhol is returning to familiar territory, although instead of Campbell’s Soup Cans and Coca -Cola bottles, Warhol turns his fascination with consumer culture towards the sports stars of the day.

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