Andy Warhol, ‘Unique acetate from Ladies & gentlemen "Wilhelmina Ross".’, ca. 1975, MultiplesInc Projects
Andy Warhol, ‘Unique acetate from Ladies & gentlemen "Wilhelmina Ross".’, ca. 1975, MultiplesInc Projects
Andy Warhol, ‘Unique acetate from Ladies & gentlemen "Wilhelmina Ross".’, ca. 1975, MultiplesInc Projects
Andy Warhol, ‘Unique acetate from Ladies & gentlemen "Wilhelmina Ross".’, ca. 1975, MultiplesInc Projects

This large (approx. 17 inches by 14 inches) work is one of the acetates used to create Warhol's "Ladies & Gentlemen" series. We sold the bulk of the Chromacomp collection to an Italian consortium, who exhibited them in 2014, in conjunction with the Warhol Foundation, at the Naples Art Museum, curated by Warhol scholar Benito Oliva. They were offered for sale at the time for 10,000 to 15,000 euros.

This particular work is one of the few acetates from that series that remains in the U.S. It is accompanied by a signed letter of provenance.

As a testament to the historical importance of this collection, we just sold Warhol's acetate of famous conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth - to Joseph Kosuth himself, and Baby Jane Holzer herself made an offer on one of the Warhol acetates of herself used to make his famous silkscreen of her.

This is an original 1970s photographic acetate positive of Wilhelmina Ross, an excellent example of a rebel who resisted convention as a drag queen, half a century before it became more widely accepted. This came directly from Warhol's studio to his printer - Chromacomp.

This image was taken by Andy Warhol and came directly from Warhol's studio to his printer. This acetate was used by Warhol for his iconic portrait of Wilhelmina Ross, for his famous Ladies and Gentlemen series.

The idea for the Ladies and Gentlemen series came from a protégé of art dealer Alexander Iolas named Anselmino. For the series, Warhol found his models at the Gilded Grape on West 45th Street, frequented by black and Hispanic transvestites.

Unlike the portraits commissioned by socialites and celebrities, Warhol paid these sitters to pose in front of his camera. In a statement made by Vincent Fremont about the sitters he says, "Bob Colacello found most of them at a club called the Gilded Grape. After the photo session, I would hand the subjects a model release and a check and send them over to the bank." The cross-dressers were invited to pose and dress as they wished while Warhol took their portraits with his Polaroid Big Shot camera, the same process he used with the Hollywood starlets and socialites. The photographs were then sent to a commercial silkscreen shop where they were transferred onto the silk or silk-like fabric and then returned to Warhol for printing. These paintings are glamorous and feminine, mimicking the celebrity status of his other portraits.

This acetate was brought by Warhol to Eunice and Jackson Lowell, owners of Chromacomp, a fine art printing studio in NYC, and was acquired directly from the Lowell's private collection. (During the 1970s and '80s, Chromacomp was the premier atelier for fine art limited edition silkscreen prints; indeed, Chromacomp was the largest studio producing fine art prints in the world for artists such Robert Natkin, David Hockney, Warhol and many more.) Warhol left the remaining acetates, including this one, with Eunice and Jackson Lowell. After the Lowells closed the shop, the photographs were packed away where they remained for nearly a quarter of a century.

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