ANDY WARHOL "LADIES & GENTLEMEN" POLAROID, 1974
In the mid-1970's Andy Warhol was arguably in a creative lull. He had produced countless portrait paintings of celebrities, politicians and society characters. Many of these works were lucrative commissions (rather than new inspiration).
Subverting his typical clientele, Warhol sent his sidekick/studio manager Bob Colacello to the roughest, seediest part of NYC to recruit some fresh subjects. Colacello procured Drag Queens from a bar called "The Gilded Grape" at the corner of 8th Avenue and 45th Street. The queens were paid $50 each to have Warhol take polaroid portraits of them.
In total Warhol shot 14 Queens producing around 500 photographs. He worked with a number of the subjects to select the sitter's best image. Using a similar technique as his celebrity portraits, Warhol used the polaroids to first made silkscreen paintings and later that year a series of prints with his favorite images.
Until 2014 these glamorous subjects were anonymous. Research sponsored by the artist's estate was able to identify and create biographies for 13 out of 14 of the sitters.
In 2020 the Tate (London) presented a major retrospective on Andy Warhol. His "Ladies and Gentlemen" paintings were place prominently in the exhibition and the Tate promoted the research and results of the Drag Queen's featured. Click here to learn more about this series on the Tate's website.
Until recently "Ladies & Gentlemen" had been undervalued in the Warhol market. Perhaps because of an ongoing fascination with New York in the late 1970's and a new mainstream interest/respect in Drag, "Ladies & Gentlemen" has become highly desirable in the marketplace. Furthermore they demonstrate the importance of Black/Latinx queer culture of the era, and its influence on Andy Warhol.
Additional images available on request.
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Untitled (for "Ladies & Gentlemen")
Unique polaroid print
Estate's embossed signature
Framed with museum glass
Very good condition.
Provenance: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / the Estate of Andy Warhol, Christie's Private Sales (New York City)
Note: This work is accompanied by a certificate of provenance from Christie's and the Estate of Andy Warhol
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