Andy Warhol Lithographs

Andy Warhol Lithographs: Flowers 1964 and Photos After

Andy Warhol could easily have drawn hibiscus flowers, made a silkscreen and hung it at his first exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery at the end of 1964. He could have, but he didn’t.

For Flowers, Warhol appropriated a photo of hibiscus flowers from the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography magazine. The photos were taken by Patricia Caulfield, the executive editor of Modern Photography. Caulfield threatened to sue Warhol, was offered, but declined, two sets of Flowers silkscreens, and agreed to a cash settlement instead.

For the Castelli exhibition, Warhol changed the colors and contrasts of the original photos and had them printed in square formats, ranging in size from 24 inches to 60 inches. Some of the Flowers lithographs were reportedly given to visitors during the exhibition.

Warhol had a second exhibition of Flowers at the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, in Paris, in 1965.

I always notice flowers.” —Andy Warhol

After the Flowers exhibition, Warhol threatened to retire from the art scene. Because of, or in spite of, the threat of a lawsuit by Modern Photography, he bought a camera and began taking his own photographs.

He took a camera everywhere and the Warhol Foundation wound up with over 50,000 of his photographs. Many were donated to schools and museums by the foundation, many have been sold and are sought out by collectors and many remain unseen by the general public.

Some of Warhol’s most successful works were done from his own photographs and many of the photos themselves stand alone as works of art and historical record.

Continuing to push the envelope, Warhol made films like Sleep, that consisted of five hours and 20 minutes of his friend, John Giorno, sleeping and Empire, which was eight hours of footage of the Empire State building.

Why Warhol went from painting Death and Destruction to Flowers is anyone’s guess. Although he established Interview magazine in 1969, which is still in publication today, Warhol himself was not an easy interview nor was he forthcoming about his art.

In 1977, Warhol did a 90-minute interview with Glenn O’Brien, the editor of Warhol’s own Interview magazine, that went like this:

GLENN O’BRIEN: What was your first work of art?

ANDY WARHOL: I used to cut out paper dolls.
GO: How old were you?
AW: Seven.
GO: Did you get good grades in art in school?

AW: Yeah, I did. The teachers liked me. In grade school, they make you copy pictures from books. I think the first one was Robert Louis Stevenson.
GO: Did they say you had natural talent?
AW: Something like that. Unnatural talent.
GO: Were you arty in high school?
AW: I was always sick, so I was going to summer school and trying to catch up. I had one art class.
GO: What did you do for fun when you were a teenager?
AW: I didn’t do anything for fun. I think maybe once I went down to see a Frank Sinatra personal appearance with Tommy Dorsey.

Warhol was eccentric, sometimes difficult, and one of America’s finest artists.

I just do art because I’m ugly and there’s nothing else for me to do.” —Andy Warhol

Please contact us for more information about Flowers or other works by Warhol and the many great artists whose work is in our gallery.

Andy Warhol Lifesavers 1985 F&S II.353

What’s New At Vertu: The Smoker, Lifesavers, Chicken and Dumplings

Here’s a look at some of the latest acquisitions at the Vertu Fine Art Gallery.

Tom Wesselmann, The Smoker

The Smoker is an embossed lithograph that contains some of Tom Wesselmann’s favorite things … a graceful hand, with dark red fingernails, holding a cigarette, and smoke wafting from a pair of full, red lips.

A true Renaissance Man, Tom Wesselmann had a degree in Psychology and went to Cooper Union to study Fine Art. He became a consummate New Yorker who loved, and wrote, country music (his song, I Love Doing Texas With You was included in the Brokeback Mountain movie soundtrack). He wrote a book about himself called Wesselmann, using the pseudonym, Slim Stealingworth. In Wesselmann’s own words, he wrote (as Stealingworth), “Many critics have described Tom Wesselmann as the most underrated painter of the American Art world of the 1960’s.”

Andy Warhol, Vote McGovern, Chicken and dumplings, Lifesavers

During the contentious election of 1972, the country was in the throes of the Viet Nam war and the Civil Rights movement. Alabama Governor, George Wallace, declared himself to be a Democratic presidential candidate along with George McGovern. McGovern, of course, wound up running against Richard Nixon, and Warhol was asked to contribute to the McGovern campaign.

In typical Warhol style, he created a demonic image of Nixon, with the simple slogan, Vote McGovern below the maniacal face. Simple, subtle, powerful and so very Warhol. If only he were around for this election…  Also available in our gallery are Andy Warhol’s Chicken and dumplings and Lifesavers.

Roy Lichtenstein, Shipboard Girl

In the wake of his 1964 painting, Nurse, selling at Christie’s for $95.3 million a few weeks ago, Roy Lichtenstein’s artwork has become more desirable than ever. Created a year after Nurse, Shipboard Girl has the same mysterious and sensual feeling.

With no thought or speech bubble, it’s up to the viewer to imagine what is on Shipboard Girl’s mind. Maybe she’s thinking, “I’m getting a fine art print for Christmas. Maybe a Lichtenstein.”

Alex Katz, Red Hat Ada

Red Hat Ada is a recent work, a woodcut, of the muse (and wife) that Katz has been painting for more than fifty years.

Alex Katz is a big favorite at our gallery. His Late Summer Flowers silkscreen graces the cover of our eBook, How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints (your can download it, free, at our website).

Jeff Koons, Puppy Vase

The art of Jeff Koons isn’t always practical, but it’s always fun. His first Puppy sculpture was a 43-foot high topiary, installed on the terrace of Spain’s Guggenheim Museum, that supported about 60,000 flowers.

The Puppy Vase in our gallery is just 17 inches high. It can hold a bouquet of flowers and, unlike the original, doesn’t need to be tended to by a staff of gardeners.

Banksy, Choose Your Weapon

Banksy painted Choose Your Weapon on a London wall. No Timmy and Lassie here. The boy and his Keith Haring dog, in Choose Your Weapon, appear menacing and disenfranchised.

Banksy always gives his audience a lot to think about and Choose Your Weapon is no exception.

Kaws, You Should Know I Know

You Should Know I Know is the first screenprint that Kaws created this year.

Fans of Kaws (Brooklyn-based artist Brian Donnelly) will recognize elements of his creation, Companion, the Mickey Mouse-like character that appears in many of his drawings, sculptures and even as a float in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Please call, or visit the gallery, for more information about our new acquisitions or any of the art work we offer at Vertu.


Keith Haring art for sale

Keith Haring: Still Making the World a Better Place

During his lifetime, Keith Haring brought an awareness of art, politics and activism to people all over the world. When he moved to New York in 1978, Haring rode the subway to work (he was a busboy at the club, Danceteria. Madonna worked in the cloak room). On his way to work he spotted blank, black panels, waiting for ads to be placed on the subway walls. Haring used the panels to do chalk drawings. Subway riders often stopped to talk with him, police sometimes stopped to arrest him for vandalism.

Early in his career, Haring wrote, “I have been drawing in the subway for three years now, and although my career aboveground has skyrocketed, the subway is still my favorite place to draw. There is something very “real” about the subway system and the people who travel in it; perhaps there is not another place in the world where people of such diverse appearance, background, and life-style have intermingled for a common purpose. In this underground environment, one can often feel a sense of oppression and struggle in the vast assortment of faces. It is in this context that an expression of hope and beauty carries the greatest rewards.”

All of the things that you make are a kind of quest for immortality.” —Keith Haring

Of course, the irony for Haring, as with many other street artists, is their eventual recognition, and requests for help, from the same agencies that arrested them. Haring painted his Crack is Wack mural on the wall of an unused handball court along the Harlem River Drive. In 1986, the use of crack had become an urban scourge. One of Haring’s studio assistants became addicted to crack. Haring tried to get his friend help, which, in 1986, proved to be difficult. Haring painted the mural to raise awareness of the problem. He was arrested after the mural was done.

The news media, and the public, came to Haring’s defense. He was fined $100 for painting the mural without permission. The mural was vandalized and turned into a pro-crack mural, then painted over by someone in the Parks Department. The commissioner of the Parks Department apologized to Haring and offered the assistance of the Department to repaint the mural.

Haring continued his activism, creating his Silence = Death painting to bring awareness of AIDS to the general public.

The pink triangle is a symbol that Haring used in much of his art. The Nazis forced male prisoners, whom they identified as homosexual, to wear pink triangle badges in the concentration camps.

Haring died in 1990, at age 31, of complications related to AIDS. Over 1,000 people attended his memorial service in New York. Haring’s legacy includes The Keith Haring Foundation, that continues to support AIDS research and education.

At Vertu, we have a limited edition ceramic serving set and limited edition platter in the gallery.

The joy that Keith Haring’s art continues to bring, and the work that his foundation does, is an on going gift to the art world. As Haring put it, “All of the things that you make are a kind of quest for immortality. Because you’re making these things that you know have a different kind of life. They don’t depend on breathing, so they’ll last longer than any of us will. Which is sort of an interesting idea, that it’s sort of extending your life to some degree.”

Andy Warhol's Studio

The Spiritual Side of Andy Warhol

It’s easier to picture Andy Warhol partying than praying, but pray he did.

Warhol was born into a Byzantine Catholic family in Pittsburgh. His older brother, John Warhola, said that Andy was sickly and spent much of his childhood at home with their mother, eating Campbell’s soup at the kitchen table, while gazing at a print of Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper.
Warhol was commissioned to create works, based on Last Supper, for an exhibit in the Palazzo Stelline in Milan across the street from the famous masterpiece. Warhol created a series of works, including a 32 foot long by 12 foot high Last Supper.

Andy took considerable pride in financing his nephew’s studies for the priesthood. And he regularly helped out at a shelter serving meals to the homeless and hungry. Trust Andy to have kept these activities in the dark. — John Richardson, Art historian

He didn’t worked from the original, instead he used a plastic sculpture that he bought at a gas station on the New Jersey Turnpike. Warhol had an audience with Pope John Paul ll at the Vatican in 1980, one of the rare public displays of Warhol’s faith.

Art historian, John Richardson, surprised many of the mourners at Warhol’s funeral, when he said, “I’d like to recall a side of his character that he hid from all but his closest friends; his spiritual side. Those of you who knew him in circumstances that were the antithesis of spiritual may be surprised that such a side existed. But exist it did, and it’s key to the artist’s psyche. Although Andy was perceived—with some justice—as a passive observer who never imposed his beliefs on other people, he could on occasion be an effective proselytizer. To my certain knowledge, he was responsible for at least one conversion. He took considerable pride in financing his nephew’s studies for the priesthood. And he regularly helped out at a shelter serving meals to the homeless and hungry. Trust Andy to have kept these activities in the dark. The knowledge of this secret piety inevitably changes our perception of an artist who fooled the world into believing that his only obsessions were money, fame, glamour, and that he could be cool to the point of callousness. Never take Andy at face value….”

Warhol created many versions of the Last Supper, many more Pop than traditional, using corporate logos, Harley Davidson wings and the Wise potato chip owl.

Warhol’s celebrity portraits are as iconic as the idols he portrayed.  It’s not easy to top the celeb status of Christ and the Apostles, but Warhol came pretty close with his diamond dusted screenprint of Santa Claus, available in our gallery, as of this writing. With the holidays coming up, Warhol’s Santa under the tree would be a fabulous surprise for any Warhol collector.

An iconic place where iconic people have been making films since 1912, Paramount Studio’s logo is one of the best known in the world. Warhol’s Paramount is in our gallery, along with many other Warhol works.

Warhol may have kept his religious beliefs a secret, but seeing him in this light puts a new slant on the way we view his work. If you’re interested in the spiritual side of the artist and his work, you might enjoy The Religious Art of Andy Warhol by art historian and curator, Jane Daggett. We welcome you to visit Vertu to see the the works of Andy Warhol and the other wonderful artists in our gallery.

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate fine art prints.

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
  • Which artists most influenced the making of fine art prints
  • What questions to ask when buying prints
  • The fundamentals of print identification
  • Terms and techniques for identifying fine art prints
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