Andy Warhol born 1928 [ - 87]
Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen on canvas, 72 1/8 x 72 1/8 (183 x 183)
Purchased from the Leo Castelli Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1971
Prov: With Leo Castelli, New York (purchased from the artist)
Exh: US pavilion, Expo 67, Montreal, April-October 1967 (no catalogue); American Painting Now, Horticultural Hall, Boston, December 1967-January 1968 (works not numbered, colour repr. of the Warhol installation at Montreal); Andy Warhol, Pasadena Art Museum, May-June 1970 (works not listed); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, July-September 1970 (works not listed); Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, October-November 1970 (works not listed); Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, December 1970-January 1971 (works not listed); Tate Gallery, February-March 1971 (one of four paintings listed as 65); Whitney Museum, New York, April-June 1971 (works not listed)
Lit: Rainer Crone, Andy Warhol (London 1970), pp.24, 294-6; Peter Gidal, Andy Warhol: Films and Paintings (London 1971), p.70
Repr: Simon Wilson, Pop (London 1974), pl.14 in colour
Andy Warhol had previously made an extensive series of similar but much smaller self-portraits in 1966-7 based on the same image, a photograph of himself by the photographer Rudolph Burkhardt. They measured 22 x 22in (56 x 56cm) and were all executed in different colour combinations. In his catalogue of Warhol's work, Crone lists no fewer than 54 versions. They have usually been exhibited in groups hung close together in a compact block, a method which calls attention to their similarities and differences as variations on a theme.
The Leo Castelli Gallery state that this series of larger and more monumental canvases 72 x 72in (183 x 183cm) was commissioned for the US pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, together with Jasper Johns's 'Map', Robert Rauschenberg's 'Green Shirt' and James Rosenquist's 'Fire Slide' among others. Although Crone only lists six paintings on this scale, not including this one, the Castelli records register eight, all different in colour. Two now belong to the Detroit Institute of Arts (not four, as stated by Crone), one to the Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst in Munich and another to the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Karl Ströher collection.
The US pavilion at Expo 67 was a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. The six Warhol self-portraits exhibited there were hung high up as a block (three rows of two) above the Johns map. A colour photograph of the installation, reproduced in the catalogue of the 1967-8 Boston exhibition, shows that the Tate's picture was on the right-hand side of the bottom row.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.759-60, reproduced p.759