Important Update: 12/30/2022:
Out of an abundance of caution, Nest Egg Auctions is removing the Drawing of Queen Elizabeth II signed “Andy Warhol” from our New Year’s Gala Auction pending further authentication. Please stay tuned for more details.
The article below has not been changed other than the addition of the above preface.
Nest Egg Auctions is pleased to announce the consignment of Drawing of Queen Elizabeth II by the 20th century Pop Art master Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987). This piece was discovered at a yard sale by an Arizona woman, and is now being offered in our upcoming New Year’s Sale. This drawing appears to be red crayon on brown paper. It is verified with two estate stamps from the Andy Warhol Estate. Likely dating to the 1970s or 1980s, this piece is of unquestionable importance as a documentary work of Pop Art.
Biography of Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928. He began his career, like many artists at midcentury, as a commercial designer before moving into the fine art scene. Warhol found his niche in a movement called Pop Art, where images and concepts from popular culture were brought into the world of fine art. Warhol took well-known images and pop culture references, like Campbell’s Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe, and transformed them into his artistic expression. The aesthetic value of these images is brought into the fore, as well as the commercial emptiness of such images. This dichotomy was not lost on Warhol, who cultivated this aspect of his work, especially in its repetition. This is why Warhol often used the same image over and over and over and over again, such as showing multiple portraits of Marilyn Monroe side-by-side in his famed Marilyn Diptych (1962, Tate).
Andy Warhol and Queen Elizabeth II
In 1985, Andy Warhol produced a set of sixteen serigraphs (screenprints) entitled Reigning Queens 1985. This portfolio depicted four queens who were ruling at that time. As part of this series, Warhol produced four images of Queen Elizabeth II. The late Queen is among the most famous figures of the 20th century, ruling for seventy years from 1952 until her death this past September, 2022. Her funeral, which put the entire British royal family, including King Charles III, the former husband of Princess Diana, his wife Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Andrew, Prince William, Prince Harry and their wives Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, in the spotlight, was watched by more than a billion people around the globe.
The Queen’s face is as recognizable as Marilyn Monroe’s or a Campbell’s Soup can. Warhol certainly appreciated this fact about the Queen, and this certainly contributed to his decision to draw the portrait of her now being offered by Nest Egg Auctions. The importance of this drawing, therefore, lies in its connection to Andy Warhol’s philosophy of art. Unlike one of his serigraphs, however, this is a one of a kind item.
Warhol's Drawing of Queen Elizabeth II
The Drawing of Queen Elizabeth II is exactly what its title suggests: it is a drawing in red crayon of the late Queen Elizabeth II. In this piece, Warhol shows the monarch from a profile view, adapted from photographer John Hedgecoe’s 1966 portrait of the Queen for use on postage stamps. The Queen wears the George IV State Diadem, large pearl earrings, and a pearl and diamond necklace in Hedgecoe’s photograph. Warhol has simplified the image, using thick red lines to render the Queen and her jewels. The shading for the hair is rendered by squiggles, adding a layer of depth to this two-dimensional image. Warhol’s depiction of the Queen is instantly recognizable, which demonstrates two important points. First, Warhol’s artistic skill is unquestionable, in making a line drawing of an important figure instantly recognizable. Second, this drawing shows just how iconic the Queen’s image is. Even in a simplified, nearly abbreviated form, we can recognize her immediately. Thus, this piece fits well with Warhol’s oeuvre, being an exercise in recognition and pop culture reference.
The Drawing at Nest Egg Auctions
The Drawing of Queen Elizabeth II is an important and documentary work of Pop Art by its most famed practitioner, Andy Warhol. Both in its execution and the philosophical backing of it, this drawing is surely to be classed as a major piece of Warhol’s work. This is an unique opportunity to own a telling and beautiful work by perhaps the 20th century’s most famed artist.
Andy Warhol, Drawing of Queen Elizabeth II will be offered for public sale at Nest Egg Auctions’ New Year’s Sale on December 31, 2022.