DescriptionANDY WARHOL (American, 1928-1987)
Jacqueline Kennedy II (Jackie II), 1966
Screenprint in colors on wove paper
Published in the portfolio 11 Pop Artists II
24 x 30 inches (61.0 x 76.2 cm)
Published by Original Editions, New York
Artist's stamped signature on verso: Andy Warhol
Artist proof in pencil verso: XI (there were fifty artist's proofs)
Pacific Fine Arts, San Francisco, California;
Private collection, Watertown, Wisconsin.
F. Feldman and J. Schellmann, Andy Warhol Prints A Catalogue Raisonné 1962-1987, Amilcare Pizzi, p. 60, no. 11.14.
A son of an immigrant coal miner and arguably the most influential visual historian of the twentieth century, Andy Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Warhol moved to New York City in 1949 where he became a successful illustrator, painter, film-maker, and author and kept the company of socialites and street people alike. In a meaningful departure from Expressionism, Warhol embraced popular culture and commercial processes. In the 1960s he switched from painting to silkscreen prints which were produced serially, often in bright colors with off-set effects. This process allowed Warhol not only to create art out of the mass-produced but also to mass produce the art itself. The series of silkscreens produced in the 1960s ranged from the banal to the tragic with images of soup cans and Brillo pads, celebrity portraits of Marilyn, Jackie, and Elvis, and electric chairs and guns.
This portrait captures one of the most traumatic events in postwar America and marks the development of instant news, mass emotion and mass reaction. Rather than a common voyeur, Warhol created a statement of American culture which is just as poignant today as it was in 1966. This image of Jackie Kennedy standing with dignity as the body of her husband was laid to rest before a throng of photographers and television reporters reflects classic Warhol cynicism of mass media. The visual imagery, based on newspaper photos rather than a firsthand account, is more a commentary on how the media represented the event than a study of Jackie's experience. The choice of Jackie Kennedy is also illustrative of Warhol's obsession with celebrities and how the media suppresses their ability to retain individuality and humanity.
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