Halcyon Gallery has been specialising in the sale of exceptional works by Andy Warhol for over 30 years. Presented here is an important body of Warhol’s silkscreened graphic work, featuring the boldly coloured and carefully selected icons of twentieth-century culture that have cemented Warhol as the most important artist in the canon of contemporary art. More than any other artist of his generation, Warhol understood how the reproduced image had come to reflect and shape contemporary life, and identified an age in which high art and consumer culture would become inextricably linked.
Also exhibited, Warhol’s early illustrations of the 1950s offer a more intimate encounter with the artist than the cool persona fronting his Pop art aesthetic of the 1960s and beyond. Revealing his masterful grasp of the simple line drawing, his great capacity to find endless variations of a single theme, and his conceptualisation of art made for reproduction, this special body of work represents stage one of Warhol’s fascinating career. Warhol’s ‘Factory’ working process, usually associated with his work of the 1960s, was already underway in these early works – with the text usually transcribed by his mother, and watercolour applied by friends at the colouring parties Warhol would host.
As the recent major museum retrospectives would suggest, Warhol’s work feels more relevant now than ever. As social media platforms have made the artist brand an even stronger machine in the twenty-first century, Warhol’s own manner of self-promotion, his use of Polaroid photography and his understanding of the fleeting nature of celebrity seems remarkably prophetic in many intriguing ways.
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