Andy Warhol, ‘Queen Elizabeth II, from: Reigning Queens (Royal Edition)’, 1985, Christie's

Signed in pencil, numbered R1/30 (there were also five artist's proofs), published by G. Mulder, Amsterdam, with the artist's copyright stamp verso, printed by Rupert Jasen Smith, New York, the full sheet, in very good condition, framed
Image & Sheet 1000 x 800 mm.

From the Catalogue:
I want to be as famous as the Queen of England' (A. Warhol, quoted in M. Fallon, How to Analyze the Work of Andy Warhol, Edina, 2011, p. 15).

Created in 1985 Reigning Queens brought together four ruling monarchs; three of whom, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, shared the status of being monarchs in their own right, rather than by marriage. The exception was Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland, who was made regent in 1985, holding power for her son, the then Crown Prince, now King Mswati III, before his coming of age. The series was issued in two editions, a standard edition of forty, and a Royal Edition of thirty with diamond dust (as with the present examples), which creates a suitably extravagant and sparkly effect.

The source image for Warhol’s celebrated portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II was the official photograph taken by the Royal photographer Peter Grugeon (1918-1980) and released for the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. In addition to being mass produced on flags, bunting, t-shirts, souvenir mugs, plates, stamps and posters, the photograph also spawned numerous re-interpretations beside Andy Warhol's – perhaps most famously the iconic album cover designed by Jamie Reed for the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen, an album which came to epitomise the punk movement.

Accepted by the Guinness Book of Records as the Most Recognisable Person in the World, the image of the Queen has been reproduced more times that anyone else in history, making her the ultimate subject for Warhol's obsession with fame and celebrity. Although the Queen regularly commissions portraits by distinguished artists such as Lucian Freud, Warhol's depiction is unique amongst these, because she neither sat for it nor commissioned it. Freed from the constraints of official sanction, Warhol pictorial treatment of the Queen is full of high-campery, with day glow pinks and candy coloured hues reminiscent of his portraits of New York transvestites, a reference which is mischievously implied in the series' title, Reigning Queens.
—Courtesy of Christie's

Feldman & Schellmann 336A

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