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Throughout his life, Warhol played up his unusual looks and pale complexion to startling effect. His last self-portraits, made in the year before his death, draw particular attention to his exaggerated wig. Warhol understood the importance of image in contemporary life, and established himself in the public eye as the most famous Pop artist. His public persona was as much a construct as his paintings, and over the years he created numerous self-portraits in a variety of guises. ‘If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am’, he famously said. ‘There’s nothing behind it.’

February 2011