For celebrities and newsmakers there are moments when you know you have arrived. You appear on the cover of a magazine like Time, Vogue or Rolling Stone. Your first appearance on The Tonight Show or Meet the Press catapults you to a new level of celebrity or importance. In the 70s and 80s you knew you were someone when Andy Warhol took the time to snap a Polaroid and immortalize you in his own unique fashion. Warhol is recognized as one of the leading figures, if not the creator, of the pop art movement. He had the ability to turn something ordinary into something uniquely visual. Ironically, sometimes you didn’t have to be a person since some of his most notable pieces feature a simple can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Some of his most famous subjects have been some of the most famous people or products including Marylyn Monroe, Elvis, Mickey Mouse, Campbell’s Soup and Coca-Cola. He called his studio The Factory and the A-list celebs that passed through the doors included everyone from David Bowie to Grace Jones to Madonna to Liza Minelli to Lou Reed. An appearance at The Factory could be the beginning of a long career or just a quick flash in the pan of attention. Warhol is even credited with coining the phrase “15 minutes of fame,” based on the random and mercurial aspects of celebrity.
In addition to his paintings, Warhol impacted the music scene through his relationships with the likes of Lou Reed and Mick Jagger. Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” relates to a scene at The Factory and references a number of the regular attendees in the lyrics. Warhol also designed the cover artwork for one of The Rolling Stones most famous albums, Sticky Fingers. Jagger actually wrote a letter to Warhol in 1969 offering minimal advice to the famous artist on the album cover design and also asking him to “please write back saying how much money you would like.” Warhol and the Stones lead singer developed a strong friendship that began in the 60s and eventually led to a ten picture Mick Jagger portfolio in 1975. The complete portfolio features Jagger looking contemplative, serious, joyful and soulful. It captures the emotion and dynamic look of one of the most dynamic front men in rock-n-roll history.
In Heritage Auctions’ April 10 Modern & Contemporary Prints and Multiples Signature Auction there are 14 Warhol pieces including two Jagger portraits as well as portraits of Sigmund Freud, Mao, Edward Kennedy and his famed Cream of Mushroom from the Campbell Soup portfolio.
Written by: Elon Werner
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