Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
silkscreen ink on linen 41 x 46¼ in. (104.2 x 117.1 cm.)
Painted in 1966.
Estimate in the region of $20 million
September 13, 2012, source: Christie’s
"Marlon" (1966) is an unforgettable image of a leather-clad Marlon Brando resting on his Triumph Thunderbird motorbike from a publicity still taken for the 1953 movie The Wild One. Executed on raw, unpainted linen, the material quality of this painting echoes the rough masculinity of the subject. Coming from the Collection of Donald L. Bryant, Jr., major art collector and generous patron to many American institutions, Marlon is silkscreened with such rare and pristine clarity that every aspect of Brando’s intensity and strength is conveyed.
According to Brett Gorvy, International Head, Chairman for Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art, “Alongside his iconic portraits of Elvis Presley, Warhol’s image of Marlon Brando exudes a raw sexuality and intense power rarely found in his work. In this painting, Warhol has created the archetype of cool and glamour.”
With his unconventional and deliberately popular selection of subject matter, Warhol repeatedly rocked the art world. Focusing on mass produced objects such as Campbell soup cans and images of celebrities as his subjects, Warhol created an engaging canon of images that managed to brashly and boldly enshrine 'Low Art' symbols in 'High Art' formats. In Marlon, Warhol has opted for the earthier quality of raw canvas on which to silkscreen his iconic image of Brando at his prime.