ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987) Hermann Hesse, circa 1984

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Lot 9
ANDY WARHOL
(1928-1987)
Hermann Hesse, circa 1984

US$ 20,000 - 30,000
£ 15,000 - 22,000
ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987)
Hermann Hesse, circa 1984
with The Estate of Andy Warhol stamp and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. stamp, initialed and numbered 'VF 115.188' (on the reverse)
graphite on handmade paper
31 5/8 x 23 1/2in. (80 x 59.5cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Exhibited
    New York, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Andy Warhol, Drawings, 50's-80's, 16 February-30 March 2002.

    This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. numbered TOP 115.118.

    One of Warhol's paramount concerns within his portraiture practice was to make his subject look attractive, almost hyper-perfect and in slightly imagined versions of themselves. The pose was key to achieving Warhol's characteristic sense of tensionlessness: a nonchalant aire of both calm and indifference. Taking up to 100 Polaroids in a preliminary sitting, Warhol would then crop his favorite image and send it to be blown up at a photo lab. He then traced directly on top of the augmented version. Cloning this rendered down portrait the pre-existing image allowed Warhol to capture every detail, and along with the enlargements of the original was able to inch closer to reality without his hand permeating the drawing. The critic Carter Ratcliff aptly explained that "not even appearances are everything we think they are, no matter how accurately recorded, and Warhol does much to deplete the sort of detail that gives photographic images their evidentiary weight."1 While Warhol worked with polaroids in most cases, he sometimes used stock photography, as in the case of this portrait of Hesse.

    Herman Hesse, the Nobel Prize winning author, best known for his novels Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and the Swiss Bead Game appears handsome and studious in this elegant portrait. He calmly faces the viewer; his steady and practically calming gaze strategically underscores his impactful nature. Warhol presents Hesse, a spiritual guru for many, as a paradigm of serenity and cognitive prowess.

    1. Carter Ratcliff, "Looking Good: Andy Warhol's Utopian Portraiture", in Tony Shafrazi (ed.), Andy Warhol Portraits, New York/London: Phaidon Press, 2007, p. 20.
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