Warhol frequently created single canvases or diptychs with multiple portraits. Likewise, that went back to his favourite portrait subjects year after ~ year. This repeat is indicative that his examination of the commodification that identity, or the idea that with fame, celebrities stop to it is in individuals and also are viewed just as assets for intake by the mass media. The use of a grid format also assists in his desire come become an ext machine-like in his process.

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Color blocking

Flat block of color are probably the many iconic part of Warhol’s portraits. Warhol wanted the automation and sharpness that come with display screen printing, however kept imperfections as they own an immediacy comparable to the tabloid image he frequently referenced.


In all of Warhol’s portraits, slim inconsistencies appear throughout different portraits in the very same series. This imperfections room in component a an outcome of the screen printing process employed, yet also point to the significant themes in Warhol’s work: the dichotomies of public image and also private life, beauty and tragedy, ascent and also descent.

Source image

Typically, Warhol either photographed his topics himself or took photos from newspapers, old public stills, or elsewhere. Often when the appropriated pictures he offered photographs from years past, showcasing the subject at the beginning or optimal of their celebrity.

A nottard of Andy Warhol’s Subjects


From at an early stage in his childhood, Andy Warhol was fascinated v the idea that celebrity. During his youth, the assembled scrapbooks that headshots and also fan photos indigenous movie stars. In the 1960s, Warhol’s Factory became a hot spot for artists and celebrities. Warhol additionally made films at the manufacturing facility as a method to more weave his occupational in through the cloth of Hollywood. In a sense, all of Warhol’s portraits have the right to be considered celebrity portraits; however, he started with and went earlier to film stars, athletes, and also musicians time and also again. 

Elvis Presley

While Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn mainly illustrated her indigenous the shoulders up, the artist developed several life-size portraits that Elvis Presley beginning in the early on 1960s. Plenty of feature overlapping photos of the rock-and-roll singer and actor. Offered Warhol’s attention in filmmaking, this element of the portraits might reference the speed and movement the a movie strip. Roman inn collector Annibale Berlingieri offered his 12-foot version entitled Eight Elvises in 2008 because that over $100 million in a transaction brokered by a French arts consultant, make it one of the many expensive paintings ever sold.

Elizabeth Taylor

According come art doubter Jerry Saltz, “Andy loved women and also the power of the feminine, and also the ladies he loved most and also best were Marilyn, Jackie and also Liz.” Warhol muse Elizabeth Taylor to be an American actress and also AIDS activist. The photo used for this collection of paints from 1964 to be a publicity picture from Taylor’s 1960 film Butterfield 8, in which she starred v then-husband Eddie Fisher.

Muhammad Ali

Warhol’s portrait the Muhammad Ali is part of 1977’s The complete Athletes Series. Warhol experienced the commercialization of sporting activities as a jumping off point for athletes to come to be pop society icons in their very own right, note “the sporting activities stars these days are the movie stars the yesterday.” In the series, Ali to be featured alongside nine various other athletes, including Dorothy Hamill and also Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Leaders & Trailblazers

Warhol began to endeavor out in regards to subject matter in the 1970s and also 1980s. He was i was delegated by gallerists come do collection of different species of people, including political and also community leader from all walks that life. Though some of these people were less well-known to the public, Warhol continued to analyze them as they pertained to his typical themes: life, death, fame and public perception.

Mao Zedong

In 1972, Warhol fix up his focus on paint after a suggestion that he repaint the most significant icon that the 20th century. Warhol, having actually seen Chairman Mao described in Life magazine together the most well known person in the human being following Richard Nixon’s trip to China that very same year, selected the Chinese leader together that figure. Between 1972 and also 1973, Warhol created 199 Mao paintings. According to the Warhol Museum, “Warhol observed the pervasiveness of Mao’s picture in China as akin to Western heralding strategies.”

Gertrude Stein

When Warhol debuted his collection of “Ten Portraits of Jews the the 20th Century” in 1980, movie critics reviled the portraits as superficial verging on offensive; however, even then audiences were attracted to the pictures of completed men and also women. Gertrude Stein, a detailed writer and also art patron of the early on 20th century, to be featured alongside supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, phase actress buy it Bernhardt, Albert Einstein, and the Marx brothers.

Vladimir Lenin

Like his Mao portraits, Warhol conceived his collection of Bolshevik Revolutionary Vladimir Lenin together an ironic reversal the the cult-like adhering to the controversial leader invoked in his peers, also after his death in 1924. The Lenin paints were the last major body of occupational completed by the artist prior to his death in 1987.


Though Warhol greatly painted portraits based upon the commissions he obtained or as a means to further discover his attention in the preservation of fame, he likewise created images of people he admired – in certain other artists.

Yves Saint Laurent

French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent met Warhol in 1968, once he was continuing to be in Paris to film his movie Love. The two developed a nearby friendship, and also in the 1970s, Warhol painted a collection of portraits the Saint Laurent. Later, he also painted portraits the the designer’s bulldog.

Keith Haring

Street artist Keith Haring is pictured in this double portrait with his companion Juan Dubose. The occupational was executed in 1983, four years before Warhol’s death from surgical treatment complications and seven before Haring’s that AIDS. To many, the an option of grey tones for the very first panel that this diptych portends the comes tragedy of these lives reduced short.

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Andy Warhol

Warhol do self-portraits throughout his whole career, beginning in 1964. Warhol, who was obsessed v celebrity, ended up being an American icon as he reinvented the method art was created and marketed. Together such, it’s natural that the painted himself as with the celebrities he immortalized.

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Sources | The Warhol Museum | The metropolitan Museum of arts | The brand-new York times | Tate wall text because that Queen Elizabeth II of the united Kingdom, male Ray, and also Self-Portrait | MoMA | W magazine | Musee Yves Saint Laurent | Phaidon | Phillips | Christie’s | The art Newspaper | Sotheby’s catalogue notes for Judy Garland, Keith Haring and also Juan Dubose, The American Indian (Russell Means), Lenin, and Ladies and also Gentlemen (Wilhelmina Ross) | Sotheby’s, Andy Warhol and also Chairman Mao | Sotheby’s, Andy Warhol and His Process