Related themes


Celebrity

See how Pop artists seized on and critiqued celebrity culture.


Self-Portrait

Andy Warhol
(American, 1928–1987)

1966. Silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on nine canvases, Each canvas 22 1/2 x 22 1/2" (57.2 x 57.2 cm), overall 67 5/8 x 67 5/8" (171.7 x 171.7 cm)

Self-Portrait (1966) was constructed in what would become one of Warhol’s signature styles—a grid of bright, repeated silkscreened portraits. An expert colorist, Warhol paired primary and secondary colors as well as different shades of the same color.

In the latter part of his career, Warhol focused more and more on portraiture. He created portraits of people he admired—musicians Michael Jackson and Grace Jones, athletes O.J. Simpson and Muhammed Ali—as well as wealthy socialites he met on the New York social circuit. By the mid-1960s, Warhol had amassed a huge public following of artists, filmmakers, performers, writers, and art patrons seduced by his persona. Engaging in the painting of self-portraits only further cultivated his fame. In time, Warhol’s self-portraits became as famous as the iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. The artist had himself become a celebrity.

Having the character of an icon, i.e., an important and enduring symbol, an object of great attention and devotion.

Something formed or constructed from parts.

A work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or another support (noun).

A color made by mixing at least two primary colors.

One of three base colors (blue, red, or yellow) that can be combined to make a range of colors.

A distinctive or characteristic manner of expression.

In painting, a color plus black.

A representation of oneself made by oneself.

A stencil-based printmaking technique in which the first step is to stretch and attach a woven fabric (originally made of silk, but now more commonly of synthetic material) tightly over a wooden frame to create a screen. Areas of the screen that are not part of the image are blocked out with a variety of stencil-based methods. A squeegee is then used to press ink through the unblocked areas of the screen, directly onto paper. Screenprints typically feature bold, hard-edged areas of flat, unmodulated color. Also known as silkscreen and serigraphy.

A representation of a particular individual, usually intended to capture their likeness or personality.

The perceived hue of an object, produced by the manner in which it reflects or emits light into the eye. Also, a substance, such as a dye, pigment, or paint, that imparts a hue.

Andy Warhol, Auteur of the Ordinary
Warhol began to make films in 1963. His subjects were often unscripted ordinary events—a man getting a haircut (Haircut), a man sleeping (Sleep), a person eating a mushroom (Eat), or two people kissing. He also filmed Screen Tests (1964–66), portraits of friends who were instructed to sit as still as possible while the camera rolled. Warhol, too, was no stranger to the camera and was photographed often by his friends, the press, and documentary filmmakers.