Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Statue of Liberty
Silkscreen inks, spray enamel and graphite on canvas
77 3/4 x 81 in. (197.5 x 205.7 cm.)
Painted in 1962.
Estimate on request
October 24, 2012, source: Christie’s
Appropriating a timeless icon of America and democratic freedom as his own, the painting is a love letter from the fame-struck son of an immigrant family to his beloved New York. Always pushing the boundaries of art, moreover, Andy Warhol’s "Statue Liberty" is a pioneering example of 3-D painting, the first of its kind. This museum quality work, estimated in excess of $35 million, is the only example of the 1962 series in which Warhol experimented with 3-D techniques, still in private hands.
Statue of Liberty stands firmly as the launch pad for one of the artist’s most important series from the 1960s—the Death and Disaster paintings. Painted in 1962 at the height of the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement, and in a city under the real threat of nuclear obliteration, Warhol chose to paint his Statue of Liberty as the prelude to his Death and Disaster series, in which he coolly examined the dark underbelly of the American dream.
Screened over and over again on the same canvas, in blood red and corrosive green, Warhol’s multiple images of the Statue of Liberty stand as a proud and ironic counterpoint to the car-crashes, suicides, race riots, electric chairs, atom bombs and dead celebrities from this greatest period of his career. Presented in sequence like near-identical stills from a movie, or rows of souvenirs on a dime-store shelf, the Statue of Liberty is here as much a mass-produced commodity of today’s culture as a can of soup.
“Andy Warhol’s Statue of Liberty is one of his most important statements on America and on painting in the 1960s. At once deeply personal and universal, Warhol’s Lady Liberty is a symbol of hope painted at a time of crisis in America.” said Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art.