Lot 32
  • 32

Andy Warhol

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Andy Warhol
  • Diamond Dust Shoes
  • acrylic, diamond dust and silkscreen ink on canvas
  • 90 x 70 in. 228.6 x 177.8 cm.
  • Executed in 1980-81, this work is stamped by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Estate of Andy Warhol and numbered PA70.036 on the overlap.


The Estate of the Artist
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York
Sotheby's, New York, November 10, 2004, Lot 261
Acquired by the present owner from the above


New York, Gagosian Gallery, Diamond Dust Shoes, September - October 1999, p. 22, illustrated in color
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Wanted, August - December 2013, p. 43, illustrated in color and pp. 57 and 110, illustrated in color (in installation)

Catalogue Note

Sparkling against a sonorously black background, Diamond Dust Shoes is the ultimate manifestation of Andy Warhol’s unique blending of glamorous style, glittering surfaces, and iconic motifs. The ethereal and fantastical appearance of a quotidian necessity of dress turned into a totem of glamour is intensified by the abundantly seductive diamond dust. Immersed in the noble and sensuous chromaticity of this dazzling color, Diamond Dust Shoes is one of the most visually arresting displays within the eponymous series. Imposing in size and exquisite in its pluralist composition of multiple shoes aligned, the present work points towards Warhol’s prime fetishisms: the display of material possessions, the open and deliberate embracement of consumerism, and the voyeuristic nature associated with an image of heightened visual sensation.

While it was the Campbell’s soup cans and the portrait of Marilyn that manifested Warhol’s ascendency to fame in the early 1960s, shoes are one of the artist’s pioneering motifs that paved his way to early acclaim as a successful commercial illustrator in the 1950s. When the young Warhol moved to New York from Pittsburgh in 1949, it was his drawings of shoes for commercial publications that offered him his first taste of critical and monetary success. Only a few years later, he would be designing witty and innovative advertisements for the I. Miller shoe company that were deemed revolutionary and iconic, to the extent that the Museum of Modern Art in New York chose to include one of Warhol’s shoe pictures in a 1956 exhibition, Recent Drawings U.S.A. Based on this success, Warhol mounted an exhibition of gold shoe drawings at the Bodley Gallery in 1957, and even created an illustrated book, À la Recherche du Shoe Perdu. The shoe had become a symbol for a glamorous, elevated lifestyle, coinciding with Warhol’s fetishist admiration for wealth and fame. It appeared thus as a logical consequence that Warhol would return to this powerful subject at the height of his fame at the beginning of the 1980s. Vincent Fremont, the executive manager of Warhol’s studio, reflected on this spectacular series: “The merger of women’s shoes and diamond dust was a perfect fit… Andy created the Diamond Dust Shoe paintings just as the disco, glam, and stilettos of Studio 54 had captured the imagination of the Manhattan glitterati. Andy, who had been in the vanguard of the New York club scene since the early 60s, once again reflected the times he was living in through his paintings.” (Vincent Fremont in Exh. Cat., New York, Gagosian Gallery, Diamond Dust Shoes, 1999, pp. 8–9)

By the time Warhol revisited this signature subject, he had already revolutionized the art world through the use of his idiosyncratic silkscreen technique and formulated a globally recognizable idiom of Pop imagery. In the year preceding the Diamond Dust Shoes, Warhol undertook a bold move by initiating the Reversals and Retrospective series, in which he revisited his most iconic subjects such as the Car Crashes, the Electric Chairs, and some of his most famous portraits. While the Shoes never featured in previous silkscreen works, they can well be regarded in the same canon of re-purposing subjects that Warhol considered the most important and influential of his career.

In a post-modernist attitude of reprising previous subjects from the past and by arbitrarily juxtaposing several kinds of ladies’ shoes in an exuberantly disordered composition, Warhol displayed a deliberate indifference towards the traditional dichotomy of “high” and “low” art. Yet, in his use of the silkscreen technique, the artist remained immensely innovative. By 1979, he introduced galvanized glass to create the brilliant sparkle in these paintings which therein conveyed the unique allure of Hollywood glamour and high fashion desirability. Similar to the Shadow paintings from 1979, for which Warhol first employed this kind of "diamond dust," the glittery sparkling creates an extraordinary aura of form and texture while emphasizing the mysterious and abstract qualities of the subtle relief-like surface. Embodying the very core of Warhol’s Pop aesthetic, Diamond Dust Shoes is a material manifestation of Warhol’s unique celebration of fame and glamour viewed through his exceptional vernacular of American consumer culture.