Andy Warhol created his first painting of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, in the wake of the American movie star’s sudden death at the age of 36. Tragedy, and its portrayal in modern mass media, fascinated Warhol; at the time of Monroe’s death, the artist was enmeshed in his Death and Disaster series, an exploration of gruesome images found in newspapers and magazines. Monroe’s death pushed the narrative of tragedy and celebrity one step further, and in it Warhol found inspiration for arguably the most important suite in his oeuvre. Dating from 1967, Marilyn Monroe is a complete portfolio of ten screen prints, each produced in a different combination of intense, flat colors. This portfolio, which comes from the estate of Barbara Spiegel Linhart, who purchased the works from David Whitney in 1969, is the best possible example of this important set of screenprints, and is a highlight of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction this May.
Auctions and Exhibitions
The Glamour and Tragedy of Marilyn Monroe, Warhol’s Greatest Muse
New York | 12 May