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Gow Langsford Gallery

Gow Langsford Gallery

Stockroom

Skulls, 1976

screenprint on Strathmore Bristol paper
762 x 1016 mm each
edition of 50
signed and editioned: lower right
Printer: Gem Screens, New York
Publisher: Andy Warhol Enterprises Inc., New York

Andy Warhol_Skulls 1976

Andy Warhol_Skulls_1976

Many of America’s rich and famous commissioned Andy Warhol to paint their portraits in the 1970s. Such portraits were seen to confirm one’s place in high society and his sitters included actors, movies stars and royalty. Marilyn Monroe and James Dean are the subjects of some of his most iconic portraits of this period. These works echo two major themes of Warhol’s career: his fixation with wealth and fame, and also his obsession with death and mortality. He became notorious for his outrageous comments on such matters, even commenting that “death can really make you look like a star." (A. Warhol, in: G. Celant, Andy Warhol. A Factory, exhibition catalogue, Bilbao, 2000). 

Warhol’s Skull works, also produced in the 1970s, acted as counter-images to his glamorous portraits and poignantly suggest that underneath all of the trappings of beauty and wealth, everyone is equal and bound to the same destiny.

Warhol elevates these skulls into the realm of "Pop Art" through his trademark colouring and screenprint production techniques.  Although icons of mortality, the vivid and elated colour palette reduces the melancholic feelings usually associated with this imagery.