Late 19th & early 20th Century Paintings & Decorative Arts Gallery Level 2, NGV International
Andy Warhol purposely sought an alternative to the emotionally charged paintings of the Abstract Expressionists by adopting a commercial, hands-off approach to art. He borrowed images from American popular culture and celebrated ordinary consumer goods, as well as media and political personalities. He featured them in serial paintings and prints that relied on commercial silk-screening techniques for reproduction. After the early 1960s his most frequent subjects were the famous people he knew, and occasionally he was his own subject. In this eerie, self-portrait, produced just a few months before his death in February, 1987, Warhol appears as a haunting, disembodied mask. His head floats in a dark black void and his face and hair are ghostly pale, covered in a camouflage pattern of flamboyant colours.