About this artwork
The most influential of Pop artists, Andy Warhol cast a cool, ironic light on the pervasiveness of commercial culture and contemporary celebrity worship. Early in his career, he began to utilize the silk-screen process to transfer photographed images to canvas, creating multiple portraits of celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Jacqueline Kennedy, as well as duplicated images of mass-produced products such as Campbell’s soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles. In this example from his Mao series, Warhol melded his signature style with the scale of totalitarian propaganda to address the cult of personality surrounding the Chinese ruler Mao Zedong (1893–1976). Nearly fifteen feet tall, this towering work mimics the representations of the political figure that were ubiquitously displayed throughout China. Warhol’s looming portrait impresses us with the duality of its realistic qualities and its plastic artificiality. In contrast to the photographic nature of the image, garish colors are applied to Mao’s face like makeup. The gestural handling of color in the portrait shows Warhol at his most painterly.
- Andy Warhol
- United States
- Acrylic, silkscreen ink, and pencil on linen
- No inscription.
- 448.3 × 346.7 cm (176 1/2 × 136 1/2 in.)
- Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize and Wilson L. Mead funds
- © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York