One of the most recognizable self-portraits by celebrated Pop Icon - Andy Warhol - was not inspired by vanity contrary to popular belief.
The distinctive four-part image of the quirky artist – somewhat reminiscent of a dreary mug shot taken on the fly at a local jailhouse after a late-night DUI (soon to fetch upwards of $20 million at auction) sprang to life in a round-about fashion.
In a bit of a switcheroo, the tables were turned on Warhol when a socialite agreed to “sit” for the phantom auteur - who reined over the notorious “Factory” in New York City in the heady 70's - provided he rustle up an original image of himself to grace her wall.
Although the former graphic artist was inclined to whip up portraits of the rich and famous in a particular style - in this instance case - there was a creative departure.
Instead of shooting a Polaroid first to capture his essential spirit (as he did with the jet set elite he captured on his eclectic canvasses), Warhol responded to a light bulb that went off in his head on this unique occasion.
The zany visionary artist dashed out the door with sunglasses firmly affixed on his snoz - attired in a ubiquitous raincoat similar to those worn by flashers - and plunked a few quarters into a dingy photo booth down the street in his artsy-fartsy neighborhood.
Once the quarters were plugged into the slot, he camped it up in front of the crude camera - and thus - drummed up a series of four images to use as the basis for the self-styled portrait.
His delighted patron, a woman by the name of Mrs. Barron, was so thrilled with the creation that it remained in her hands until she passed to spirit in 1999.
Guy - the art-lover's son - has now given the nod for the unique one-of-a-kind piece to be sold to the highest bidder at Christie’s next month at what is expected to be a sold-old event .
“It’s one-off,” confided Brett Gorvy, a co-head of the auction house’s post-war and contemporary art department.
“While he (Warhol) did individual panels of this image, this is the only one conceived as a four-part piece.”
In sum, the portrait(s) are essentially a glorified version of the photo-booth strip images, originally spit out of the vending machine for a paltry buck or two.
Personally, I prefer the way Warhol exalted the Campbell’s soup can!
Andy started in advertising & window display in NYC!