An important private collection of works by Andy Warhol will be on show at the Ashmolean, Oxford, from February. In collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation, over 100 paintings, sculptures, screen prints and drawings from the Hall Collection will be exhibited alongside loans of the artist’s films from The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.
Cultural icon, celebrity and provocateur, Warhol produced images that are instantly recognizable. This exhibition shows the artist’s work through the lens of a private collection. Among the works featured are a series of screen prints of Joseph Beuys, based on a Polaroid photograph taken by Warhol in 1979 when the two giants of postwar art came face-to-face for the first time.
The exhibition will be curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal, with the exhibition spanning Warhol’s entire career, from iconic works of the ‘60s to the experimental creations of his last decade. It is arranged chronologically, opening with Warhol’s early Pop masterpieces and portraits. The first room includes works from key series such as Flowers and Brillo Soap Pads Box; a group of artists’ portraits which features Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Frank Stella; as well as some of Warhol’s earliest experiments in screen print portraits with pictures of patrons, friends and celebrities (Troy, Patty Oldenburg, Ethel Scull, Jackie). Films of the early ‘60s, including Sleep (1963) and Empire (1964) and a selection of Warhol’s Screen Tests, illustrate how the artist engaged with the moving image. This brings us to the point, in 1968, when Warhol was shot and seriously wounded by the feminist activist Valerie Solanas.
The main room of the exhibition is dominated by a spectacular display of Warhol’s commissioned portraits spanning the 1970s right up to the year before his death. The group features performers, socialites and politicians including the singer and songwriter, Paul Anka; American celebrities, Maria Shriver and Pia Zadora; the Princess of Iran; and the West German Chancellor, Willy Brandt. The room also includes works (Hammer and Sickle, Mao, Dollar Sign, Crosses) that offer typically ambiguous and non-committal social and political commentary; as well as a sequence of pencil portraits.
Andy Warhol: Works from the Hall Art Foundation 4 February–15 May 2016 Ashmolean Oxford