Dulwich Picture Gallery is delighted to present Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life and Legends, Works from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection, features selections from Andy Warhol’s forty-year span of work in the art of photographic silk-screen printmaking. The exhibition, conceived by Lilian Lambrechts, Senior Curator, Bank of America Merril Lynch Collection, features over 80 works spanning Warhol’s 40 year career and will include some of his most iconic portraits including Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe as well as self-portraits in the Myths series and still lifes. This will be the first time the exhibition has visited the UK following an extensive tour in the US.
The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection is one of the oldest corporate art collections in the world, reflecting the diversity of artistic expression in America and internationally. The exhibition features selections from Andy Warhol’s forty-year span of work in the art of photographic silk-screen printmaking. While many of the works were made in the 1970s and 1980s, their subject matter – iconic people, trends, and issues – reflect Warhol’s decades-long process of mirroring popular American culture. Warhol transforms photographic imagery from rather mundane still-lifes of fruits to portraits of comic characters and endangered species through colour, design, form and multiples. Due to the infinite possibilities of printmaking, Warhol’s portfolios contain a vast array of techniques, ranging from collage and drawing to the use of diamond dust and colour variation.
The prints from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection range from portraiture to still life, from animal to mythological and heroic images. Portfolio series featured include Marilyn, Sunset, Grapes, Space Fruit: Still Lifes, Myths and Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century. Myths, 1981 is perhaps the most intriguing series, based on photos taken by Warhol and produced six years before the artist’s untimely death in 1987. It features his self-portrait along with the Wicked Witch of the West, Superman and Howdy Doody amongst others. The collection also includes Keith Haring’s portfolio, Andy Mouse, 1986 and a photograph of Warhol taken by Robert Mapplethorpe in 1986.
Many of the prints share similar subject matter with works in the Gallery’s own permanent collection, providing a modern take on themes treated by Old Masters.