A Brief History of Flowers in Western Art
From the Catalogue:
“Arrived in Hong Kong, evening. It was hot and muggy, Florida-type weather. Twelve hours’ difference in time, so you didn’t have to change your watch, which was kind of great.”
Andy Warhol, quoted in Pat Hackett, ed., The Andy Warhol Diaries, United States of America, 2014, p. 474
Between October 27 to 30, 1982—and a brief stopover on November 6 on his way back to New York—Andy Warhol’s diary entries chronicled a short succession of fleeting but dazzling memories of Hong Kong in the early eighties: “Rolls-Royce and limousines…Mandarin Oriental…Miss America types…private boat…Disco-Disco…exclusive.” The trip, a fantastical smorgasbord of memories filled with socialites and the elite of Hong Kong, as well as excursions around the city, was initiated by Jeffrey Deitch—then part of the art advisory and art finance department at Citibank. Deitch specifically invited Warhol to be part of the inaugural event for Alfred Siu’s exclusive I-Club, a members-only club previously built into the Bank of America tower that featured works by major international artists. What ensued was a four day jaunt around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, where Warhol’s entourage was privy to an all-encompassing experience of the city: private clubs, hotels, tailors, temples, fortune tellers, discotheques, bars, gyms, manor houses.
“I had a suite overlooking the harbour, it was very beautiful…”
Andy Warhol, quoted in Pat Hackett, ed., The Andy Warhol Diaries, United States of America, 2014, p. 475
Warhol’s photographs of Hong Kong reflect the frenzied energy that permeates his diary accounts of Hong Kong; accounts which were feverishly written in punctuated, excited short bursts. Some shots are deliberately skewed or cropped: of street signs (Lot 34, 37, 39), of buildings (Lot 36, 37, 39, 40, 42, 43)—as if these scenes were frantically snapped in a hurried ecstasy of energy and wonder. In this way, various renowned locations are eschewed of their fame in a classic Warhol twist: the Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry pier (Lot 35, 36 , 39), Jardine House (Lot 36), the Peninsula Hotel (Lot 37, 39), the Cenotaph (Lot 39), the Bank of China tower (Lot 40), Furama Hotel (Lot 43), and glimpses of the famous Stone Manor (Lot 43, 44). More interestingly, Warhol further obscures and distorts such landmarks as the Mandarin Oriental, where he stayed in Room 1801, by photographing views from its interior looking out onto Hong Kong (Lot 39, 43), and similarly for the I-Club (Lot 40), as well as from within the Stone Manor (Lot 40, 43, 44). These unexpected angles and views from within various sites offer us an intimate look into Warhol as the voyeur, in turn transforming us into the viewer from within his pieces.
During his visit to Hong Kong, Warhol kept a South China Morning Post newspaper clipping featuring him, which quoted the artist as having said, “The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that have never met.” In many ways this perhaps deliberately perplexing axiom of sorts is fitting in the case of the present collection of Warhol’s travels in Hong Kong and Beijing: distanced photographer and model, building, and viewer are all opposites that attract but converge in the present works, permitting us an enthralling look into the great Andy Warhol behind his Chinon lens.
—Courtesy of Phillips
Signature: Initialled ‘T.J.H.’ by Timothy J. Hunt of the Andy Warhol Foundation in pencil, estate copyright credit reproduction limitation and date stamps on the verso. Accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity signed in ink by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
Nicholas Chambers, Michael Frahm and Tony Godfrey, eds., Warhol in China, Germany, 2014, pp. 55, 298 (illustrated)
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.
American, 1928-1987, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York
A Brief History of Flowers in Western Art
An L.A. Gallerist Bought Out Warhol’s First Painting Show for $1,000—and Ended Up with $15 Million
Can Anything Be Performance Art?