Andy Warhol, ‘Robert Mapplethorpe’, 1983, Phillips

Polaroids from the Piero Bisazza Collection

Image: 9.4 x 7.2 cm (3 3/4 x 2 7/8 in.)
Sheet: 10.7 x 8.5 cm (4 1/4 x 3 3/8 in.)

From the Catalogue:
‘My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person.’

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and the Polaroid

During the 1970s up until his untimely death in 1987, Andy Warhol’s camera of choice for his silkscreen portraits was the Polaroid Big Shot. A close-up camera with a fixed focal lens and built-in flash, the Big Shot was perfect for taking portraits and made it easy for Warhol to quickly take multiple shots of his subject. To prepare for the shoot, women’s faces were often painted with white makeup to achieve a smooth appearance and men were posed to conceal any flaws. For most sittings Warhol was known to go through a few packs of film, and at the end of a shoot, he would select a small number of Polaroids to be sent off and re-photographed in 35mm, printed as 8 x 10 acetates and then re-printed in 40 x 40 to be finally transformed into the silkscreens.

Most of these portraits were done on commission or trade. Both Roy Lichtenstein and Gilbert & George (lot 5) traded their paintings with Warhol for his silkscreen portraits. The Polaroid was the foundation for his 1970s and 80s silkscreen portraits and the Big Shot with its speed and disposability suited the purpose. These 11 Polaroids (lots 2-6) offer a unique record of the famous faces that populated the world of Andy Warhol, 20th century’s preeminent visual artist.

Please refer to lots 152 – 172 for Polaroids from the Piero Bisazza Collection in the Photographs Day Sale.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: Initialled 'T.J.H.' by Timothy J. Hunt of the Andy Warhol Foundation, numbered 'FA05.01674' in another hand, all in pencil and Estate of Andy Warhol stamps on the verso. This work is unique.

G. Baldwin, Nadar/Warhol, Paris/New York: photography and fame, Los Angeles: Getty, 1999, pp. 176, 256, variant
P. Hickson, Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls, New Haven: Yale UP, 2015, pl. 63, p. 118, variant
Andy Warhol: Polaroids, 1958-1987, Cologne: Taschen, 2017, p. 347, variant

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York
Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, 2006
The Piero Bisazza Collection, Italy

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