Andy Warhol, ‘Muhammad Ali (FS II.181)’, 1978, Revolver Gallery
Andy Warhol, ‘Muhammad Ali (FS II.181)’, 1978, Revolver Gallery
Andy Warhol, ‘Muhammad Ali (FS II.181)’, 1978, Revolver Gallery
Andy Warhol, ‘Muhammad Ali (FS II.181)’, 1978, Revolver Gallery

Title: Muhammad Ali 181
Medium: Screenprint on Strathmore Bristol wove paper.
Year: 1978
Size: 32″ x 44″
Edition: Edition of 150. Portfolio of four.

Andy Warhol created Muhammad Ali 181 in 1978 for his portfolio of 4 screenprints featuring the famous boxer. While Warhol himself was not a fan of sports, he was fascinated with celebrity and the idolization of famous athletes like Ali. The image is based on poloroid photos Warhol captured of the boxer, highlighting Ali’s poise, concentration, and physicality, all of which contributed to his international celebrity. This image excludes Ali’s facial features, focusing instead on one of the highly recognizable tools of the boxer's trade: his fist. Emblematic not only of the athlete’s strength and life force, Ali's fists also symbolize his unique identity. Warhol sets the image against a deep blue background, using black outlines and blue and brown overlay to accent the sleek curvature of the boxer’s primary tool. Andy Warhol’s prints of Muhammad Ali exemplify the pop artist’s take on portraiture and obsession with fame and celebrity.

Series: Muhammad Ali

Signature: Signed and numbered by Andy Warhol

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, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York