Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol began using the big-shot Polaroid camera in 1971 and continued using it religiously until his death in 1987. Despite the camera being discontinued in 1973, he continued to use it to capture the actors, artists, dancers, politicians, socialites, and Factory members of his world. 

Frequently, Warhol's Polaroids were used as preparatory works for his iconic silkscreen portraits or other artworks. They also revealed his immediate personal vision functioning as a chronicle of his surroundings and social life. 

Beginning with his "Death and Disasters" series in the early 1960s, Warhol had a long-standing, existential fascination with violence (and spectacle). He created images of electric chairs, car crashes, and even a portfolio of images exploring JFK's assassination. Not surprisingly the Flash portfolio included  a screenprint of Lee Harvey Oswald's gun. 

In the 1980's he produced the very sinister "Knives and Guns" series. These works are some of the most ambiguous in his output. Are they a commentary on the (American) media's obsession with crime and violence? Or are they a droll or vitriolic response to an artist who was a bit out of fashion...and feeling criticized and neglected by the (art) world? There is also something undeniably phallic about some of the guns from this series. (One curator who saw this photographed began referring to it as "69ing guns")

"Pocket Pistols" stems from the "Knives and Guns" era, most likely as a reference or study. Presented with authority, the image features the profile of a Volcanic Pocket Pistol duo, a model that dates back to 1848. While Warhol was most often obsessed with the culture of his day, he was simultaneously a student and collector of the past. In 1986, for example, he released the "Cowboys and Indians" portfolio which featured historical figures from the 19th century. 

Regardless of how you interpret or position this work, it is an important artwork that interweaves Warhol's favorite themes and, perhaps on a subconscious level, personal anxieties.

As the Warhol market continues to gallop to a stratosphere beyond, there are fewer and fewer examples of unique, original works, that are accessible in circulation.

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720.

Or visit our Toronto gallery on Thursdays or by appointment.

Untitled "Pocket Pistols"

USA, 1981

Unique polaroid print

Embossed signature / copyright

Estate of Andy Warhol stamp verso 

3.5"H 4.25"W (work)

14"H 16"W (framed)

Framed with museum glass. 

Traces of previous adhesive verso.

Overall very good condition.

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