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Self-Portrait (Painting)

Self-Portrait (Painting)

Year:
Media: Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
Dimensions: 25 x 25 cm (H x W x D)

Andy Warhol created this self portrait painting in 1979. Known for his fascination for fame and all things popular, Warhol was especially concerned with image and the visual, surface-level nature of things. Naturally, his inclination to represent the world around him translated to his own image, too.

Spanning his entire life and work, we see Warhol’s relationship with selfhood ebb and flow in a thread that runs through all of his experiments in self-portraiture. These works become extra special: Warhol, celebrated for his perpetual capturing of the external world, turns the camera back on himself. It’s possible that, for Warhol, these images represent an attempt to control our perceptions of him. As someone who at once strived to be in the limelight, yet determinedly maintained an unwilling, cryptic demeanor in the public eye, Warhol seems to use works like this Self-Portrait from 1979 to tune the world’s imagination of him.

One of the most common assessments of Warhol’s oeuvre is that the artist is absent. By negating the painterly, subjective touch that was inherent to the common art styles of the 19th century, Warhol removes himself completely from his creations. The artist’s hand is gone. Slowly, the brush itself disappears. Famously, this is most recognizable in his Campbell’s Soups, the artworks that spawned his legendary status. After first painting the soups on canvas and using an inkstamp to quicken the detailing process, Warhol turned to an entirely mechanical method years later, producing Campbell’s iconic creation in mass quantities and striking consistency. Considering his proclivity to erase any trace of himself, the scattered self-portraits of Warhol’s work become charged with even more splendor. Warhol, always hiding, yet always in view, presents himself to the viewer exactly as he wishes. Even though his work affirms his absence, Warhol lives. He becomes visible to us, but only insofar as he maintains control.

Artist

Andy Warhol was an influential American artist, filmmaker, painter, printmaker, sculptor, author, collector, and producer. He was born on August 6th, 1928, in Pittsburgh, US. 

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