Andy Warhol, ‘Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus)’, 1984, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus)’, 1984, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus)’, 1984, Christie's
Andy Warhol, ‘Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus)’, 1984, Christie's

Each signed in pencil, numbered 14/70 (there were also 18 artist's proofs), published by Editions Schellmann & Klüser, Munich and New York, with their copyright inkstamp on the reverse, foxing (primarily in the margins), otherwise generally in good condition, framed
Each Image: 25 x 37 in. (635 x 940 mm.)
(F. & S. II.316-318) Sheets: 32 x 43 7/8 in. (813 x 1114 mm.)
(F. & S. II.319) Sheet: 32 x 43 ¾ in. (813 x 1111 mm.)

From the Catalogue:
In 1984 Andy Warhol began a series of works on canvas and editioned prints based on iconic paintings from the Italian Renaissance. These images included reinterpretations of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Annunciation, Paolo Uccello’s Saint George and the Dragon, and Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.

The present lot, a complete set of Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482), is a quintessentially Warholian take on Botticelli’s beloved and culturally ubiquitous image of the goddess emerging from the sea. As in his portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor from the 1960s, Warhol mobilized his entire pop visual language. In the screenprints, he crops the full source image to focus on the face and hair of the subject, surrounds their profile with a flat color background, and exclusively uses his signature neon color palate. As a result, instead of the luminous realism of Botticelli’s painting, Warhol presents Botticelli’s Venus as a pop commodity.

Warhol’s Renaissance series are in a similar vein as many of the editioned sets of screenprints executed in the 1980s. During this decade, Warhol was open to suggestions and found inspiration for portraits beyond Hollywood starlets and socialites. Advertisements, cultural symbols, and art history were among the most prominent sources. This is reflected in the major print series from these years: Ads, Myths and Cowboys and Indians. These series move beyond known figures to images that saturate visual culture, from television to the vaunted museums of Europe.

Warhol’s mining of the art historical cannon for inspiration, as seen in Details of Renaissance Paintings, was not unique, since Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann also enjoyed reinterpreting classic imagery with a Pop lens throughout their careers. This awareness of their own place in the cannon was particularly drenched in satire for the Pop Generation, in the same vein as Marcel Duchamp’s defaced images of Mona Lisa. Reverence for tradition was usurped in favor of image as product.
—Courtesy of Christie's

Feldman & Schellmann II.316-319

About Andy Warhol

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, PA, United States, based in New York, NY, United States