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The Statue of Liberty
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The Statue of Liberty
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About the item

Created in the year before his death, Andy Warhol’s The Statue of Liberty, 1986, stunningly captures the essential qualities of the artist’s late work whilst recalling the iconic portraits of his early career. Clothed entirely in camouflage, the immediately recognizable figure of The Statue of Liberty appears against a jet-black background, existing simultaneously as figure and abstraction. As such, the present work conveys a duality that encapsulates both the artist’s early silkscreened works and his later abstractions. Like his other great Camouflage paintings, the reduced amorphous forms of army green, khaki and white that comprise the camouflage design are graphically dominant; however, here they are used not to conceal but to reveal a figure. An unparalleled icon, laden with historical, social and cultural significance, The Statue of Liberty is a fitting subject for an artist who spent much of his career preoccupied by the dynamics of fame and the iconic. Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the United States. The statue is of a robed figure that represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, and has come, over the course of its life, to stand as the definitive symbol of the fundamental values of freedom and democracy that encapsulate the American Dream. The progenitor of an innately American brand of Pop Art, Andy Warhol chose to celebrate, in the mid-1980s, America’s sovereign muse, the result of which is an impressive group of paintings that are as distinctly American as his Campbell’s Soup Cans. Warhol first incorporated The Statue of Liberty into two of his 1962 Optical Paintings, which were silkscreened in two distinct layers so that the planes appear to separate when the works are viewed using 3-D glasses. In the artist’s signature fashion, the Statue is serially represented across the entirety of the canvas. Warhol’s source image for these works was likely a nine-by-six inch postcard showing a full image of the Statue. The work, therefore, is not a representation of The Statue of Liberty but a re-presentation of an omnipresent image of the Statue that has infiltrated our collective consciousness. By using a readily available and culturally ubiquitous image, Warhol remained true to his artistic practice, which steadfastly celebrated the social forces of mass commercialization and celebrity fascination that predominated mid-century American life. As opposed to his early Statue of Liberty representations, the present work displays a single image of the Statue, shown from the waist up. Framing his composition so as to include the statue’s crown and tablet, but exclude her torch and the broken chain that rests at her feet, Warhol allowed his figure to occupy nearly the whole of the six-by-six foot canvas surface, resulting in a monumental representation of this seminal American muse. Like the artist’s celebrated single screen representations of Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor, The Statue of Liberty elevates an already prodigiously significant figure to the status of indisputable icon.\nSigned and dated 86 on the overlap
US
NY, US
US

medium

Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas

creator

Andy Warhol

condition

This work is in very good condition. There are intermittent minute cracks at the very edges as the canvas folds around the stretcher. There is a short crack in the black located 2 3/8 – 3 ½" from the top and 26" from the right edge, with a second minute crack, located approximately 2 ½ - 3" to the lower right of the first. There is a diagonal faint linear scratch in the black, roughly 23 ½" long and located 10 ½ - 14" from the right edge. There is slight soiling in the upper left corner and intermittently along the left edge in the cream color. There is a crack in the black located 2 3/8 – 3 ½" from the top and 26" from the right edge with a second minute crack, located approximately 2 ½ - 3" to the lower right of the first. Under ultraviolet light, there are no apparent restorations. This canvas is not framed. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

dimensions

72 x 72 in. 182.9 x 182.9 cm.

provenance

The Estate of the Artist Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above) Sotheby's, London, June 23, 1999, Lot 12 Acquired by the present owner from the above

signedDate

Signed and dated 86 on the overlap

creator_nationality_dates

1928 - 1987


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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