Andy Warhol made over fifty portraits of her – in all her incarnations. Brought together for the first time, each portrait captures and amplifies the intensity, the extravagance, the carnality and the resilience that were the unique hallmarks of Elizabeth Taylor’s notorious and beloved character.
The woman with the violet eyes and (probably) the greatest movie star of all times, Elizabeth Taylor was and will always be an iconic muse. Her turbulent life, her failed romances, her rise and fall, and her acting skills whether she had to incarnate Virginia Wolf or “the most desirable woman in town” for “Butterfield 8” (Andy created this specific portrait when Taylor was at the height of stardom, but also very ill with pneumonia. He remembered: “I started those a long time ago, when she was so sick and everyone said she was going to die. Now I’m doing them all over, putting bright colors on her lips and eyes”), were only some parts of this Hollywood legend. Pop art loved Liz and Andy Warhol, the movement’s most defining figure, was no exception. Rizzoli now launches a coffee table book, “Andy Warhol:Liz”, solely dedicated to Warhol’s unique portraits of Elizabeth Taylor.
Although the two became friends back in the wild days of the Studio 54 (in the ’70’s and the glamorous ’80’s), Warhol had long been her hugest fan (since the ’60’s). And Liz was the perfect vehicle for his vivid silkscreen portraiture derived from various press clippings, publicity shots, and film stills.
Among his love for self-destructive heiresses, Campbell soups, and provoking the consumerist creatures of New York, Andy found room for a true goddess. The eccentric artist made over fifty portraits of his dear friend, following her through her years of glory. He captured the magnifying signature look in her eyes, her anger, sadness or joy while she would jump from one movie character to another, while adding his pop culture essence.
From the innocent and beautiful child-actress in “National Velvet” to the screen goddess and damned lover “Cleopatra”, all the portraits show Taylor as the diva she truly was, under Warhol’s extravagant point of view.
Andy Warhol: Liz
Contribution by Bob Colacello and John Waters
Pub. Date: April 2012
Trim Size: 11-1/2 x 11
US Price: $100.00
ANDY WARHOL – Silver Liz, 1963, Silkscreen ink, acrylic, and spray paint on canvas, 40 x 40 inches, (101.6 x 101.6 cm),© 2011 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/ ARS, NY/Gagosian Gallery. Photo by Robert McKeever. Private Collection, NY.
ANDY WARHOL – Blue Liz as Cleopatra, 1962, Acrylic, silkscreen ink, and pencil on linen, 82 1/2 x 65 inches (209.6 x 165.1 cm), © 2011 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/ ARS, NY/Gagosian Gallery. Photo by Robert McKeever. Daros Collection, Switzerland.
Cover and first image credits: © 2011 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/ ARS, NY/Gagosian Gallery. Photo by Robert McKeever.