Lot 18
  • 18

Andy Warhol

3,000,000 - 4,000,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Andy Warhol
  • Round Jackie
  • signed and inscribed To Barry Farroll on the reverse

  • gold paint and silkscreen ink on canvas

  • Diameter: 17 3/4 in. 45.1 cm.
  • Executed in 1964.


Samuel Adams Green, New York (Green organized Warhol's landmark exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia)
Acquired by the present owner from the above


New York, Museum of Modern Art; Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago; London, Hayward Gallery; Cologne, Museum Ludwig; Venice, Palazzo Grassi; Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, Andy Warhol: A Retrospective, February 1989 - September 1990, cat. no. 246, p. 242, illustrated in color (exhibited in New York, London and Paris)


George Frei and Neil Printz, eds., Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 02A: Paintings and Sculpture 1964-1969, New York, 2004, cat. no. 943, p. 110, illustrated in color


This painting is in excellent condition. Please contact the Contemporary Art department at 212-606-7254 for a condition report prepared by Terrence Mahon. The 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.

Catalogue Note

The issue of public persona – or the public face of an individual whose private life can only be glimpsed in moments of tragedy – is the subject matter of much of Andy Warhol's art. Even as his own notoriety grew, eventually to be cynically affirmed by the assassination attempt on his life in June 1968, Warhol remained mesmerized by fame and celebrities his entire life. Warhol grasped intuitively that a public image shown pervasively through the mass media was a construct and any sense of familiarity with the person's private character was unfounded. Yet the very ubiquitous nature of the most public personae ironically leads us to feel just such an intimate connection with the inner life of a celebrity.  Both Round Jackie paintings from the Rosekrans collection are sumptuous renditions of one of Warhol's most complex and powerful presentations of the enigmatic dichotomy between public versus private persona. Along with Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy was one of Warhol's most important muses, whose glamorous images and tragic lives perfectly suited two of Warhol's most enduring themes: the vagaries of celebrity and the inevitability of death and disaster.


The two Round Jackies have been together for several decades, beginning with the collection of Samuel Adams Green, the owner of the paintings prior to Mr. and Mrs. Rosekrans and a friend who was instrumental in bringing national attention to Warhol's Pop art.  The two met in 1962 when Warhol visited the Green Gallery in New York where Green worked at the time. In 1964, he was appointed director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and organized the infamous retrospective of Warhol's work in 1965. In photographs of the wildly popular opening to the show, Green can be seen on the stairs, trying to help Edie Sedgwick and the artist out of the mobbed crowd. 


The present two works are among the finest screens from a series of eight tondo portraits of Mrs. Kennedy which are considered to be the artist's first paintings of the First Lady as seen by millions of viewers during the televised day in Dallas in November 1963. work at the museum in 1965.  in the ea Six of the eight Round Jackie paintings are based on Jackie's smiling face as she and President John F. Kennedy arrived at Love Field airport, and two works are of a smiling Jackie in the motorcade just prior to the tragic shots that killed the President who is glimpsed behind her shoulder. The Rosekrans collection includes an example of each of the two images.  Other Jackie portraits to follow would be based on the more somber images from the funeral procession. The events of November 1963 – still fresh in public memory when Warhol painted the Round Jackies in February and March 1964 – were unprecedented in modern American history and the jolt of such a calamity was a collective moment of national shock. The continuous radio and television broadcasts and copious print media coverage surrounding this communal grief unfolded over several days. As an artist whose work was inspired by the confluence of public and private and an artist who used the found imagery of newspapers and tabloids as his source material, Warhol naturally responded to the most extensively covered media event of his time.


The sources for Warhol's portraits were often images available from media – film, magazines, advertising and news. This cinematic or filmic basis infused many of the choices he made in his creative processes, from the gritty graininess versus commercial gloss of an image and the single image versus a serial, repetitive composition.  In the case of Jacqueline Kennedy, Warhol produced single-image, highly glamorous portraits on the one hand, and documentary images derived from the news coverage of the death of her husband on the other. The images of the Kennedy assassination and funeral are especially intriguing in connection to Warhol's Self-Portraits in that they both relate to Warhol's interest in portraying a subject in relation to time – a central motif in his own work as a filmmaker.  A sense of narrative was also introduced by covering different moments in the life of a subject, as with Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.


Both of the Rosekrans Round Jackie paintings, with their gold background, present Jackie's image to us as an icon for contemplation and reverence.  Since Byzantine and Medieval times, gold was the background for depictions of saints, holy figures and rulers. In similar fashion, Jackie is presented to the viewer as an object to be adored. Gold becomes a context and a reference for the image, imbued with contradictory effects: its religious, transcendent immateriality combines with industrial metallics.  The tondo shape also has classical connotations to Renaissance paintings of the Madonna or the Adoration of the Magi by artists such as Raphael and Botticelli. Warhol places Jackie in the center of the tondo in each of the Round Jackie paintings here – in one example, the President is only partially viewed as his face slips off the canvas, a passing image of a transient moment soon to be gone. In the sister tondo, a smiling Jackie is hauntingly alone.  In a photograph by Billy Name-Linich of the Factory in early 1964, we can identify three tondos with Jackie's image, including one from the Rosekrans collection, and seven canvases that are unscreened. Five of these seven empty gold canvases were eventually screened. Four remain single Round Jackies to bring the total of these paintings to seven, while the fifth was paired with an unscreened tondo to create a diptych which is the eighth work of the series.

Jackie Kennedy was the glamorous and stylish face of a young, vibrant and Jet Set post-war America, admired around the world.  As with the portraits of Marilyn and Liz, Warhol chose his subject with a nod toward the dichotomy between surface and substance, the obvious and the hidden.  The three female icons that Warhol cherished all had private turmoil or tragedy -- inner demons, suicide, unhappy marriages or life-threatening illnesses -- yet it was the glittering surface persona that the public wished to see and that the media celebrated and exploited.  In the case of Jackie, her tragedy became our tragedy as her grief stricken face in Dallas and her stately presence during the funeral in Washington, D. C. were the face of our national loss. Her innermost grief and traumatic loss was now evident in her public persona, creating a more complicated image.  As her husband, our national leader, eerily fades from the picture's frame, Jackie emerges as the pure essence of celebrity in unprecedented proportions. In this young widow, Warhol's fascination with death and disaster is intermingled with his fascination for celebrity more profoundly than anywhere else in his oeuvre.