139: Andy Warhol, Joan Collins, C. 1985; Jane Fonda, C.
Joan Collins, c. 1985; Jane Fonda, c. 1980; Carly Simon, c. 1970s; Karen Kain, c. 1983. Five colour Polaroid prints. Each 9.5 × 7.3 cm (3 3/4 × 2 7/8 in) Four with copyright credit blindstamp in the margin; each with 'Estate of Andy Warhol' and 'Andy Warhol Foundation' credit stamps on the verso.‡
PROVENANCE The Andy Warhol Foundation, New York
LITERATURE (i, ii, iv, v) Andy Warhol Photography, exh. cat., The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Hamburg Kunsthalle, 1999, pp. 182–83 (variants) (iv, v) Andy Warhol, Polaroids: Celebrities and Self-Portraits, exh. cat., Starmach Gallery, Krakow, 2000, pl. 51 and 52
“Mr Land invented this great camera called a Polaroid. And it just takes the face of the person. There is something about the camera that makes the person look just right. They usually come out great. I take at least 200 pictures and then I choose. Sometimes I take half a picture and a lip from another picture. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy.”ANDY WARHOL Photography was central to Andy Warhol’s life and work. In 1970 he purchased a Big Shot camera that accompanied him everywhere as he relentlessly and obsessively documented his illustrious social circle. The Polaroids were often used as the basis for his silkscreen portraits, their distinctive saturation directing the stark contrasts of the canvases. Andy Grundberg has noted, however, they are far more than mere ephemera to the working process: “They are also evidence of Warhol’s lifelong fascination with the camera’s own transformative powers. For him, a photograph was more than a record of whatever reality lay on front of the lens; it was no less than a fictionalising tool that embodied the very aspiration on which he staked his career: it could actively manufacture celebrity and, ultimately, identify itself.”(A. Grundberg and V. Fremont, Andy Warhol Polaroids, 1971–1986, New York: Pace/MacGill, 1992)At odds with the determinedly machine-like production of the canvases, the appeal of the Polaroids lies in their unique, tangible quality. They are at once disarmingly honest and curiously unrevealing – the sitter is confronted by the camera’s stark gaze, but distanced by their celebrity. As seen in the current group lot, in which the women’s immaculately prepared make-up contrasts with the snatched intimacy of the Polaroid, Warhol perfectly captures the polarities of the glamorous and the real, the vulnerable and the knowing, that demonstrate his inimitable understanding of the cult of celebrity.