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Portraits By Warhol Essay, Research Paper

Some of the portraits that were done by Warhol began with Troy Donahue and Warren Beatty, and Elvis Presley. Then later on came Marilynn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy. There was also a series of car crash pictures done around this time. The Jackie Kennedy portraits were done very shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy. They mirrored the mourning face of Jackie that was shown time and time again in the media. There were eight different images that were all taken from different newspapers at the time. The number of works in this series is still unknown. (Crone pg 29)

The car crash pictures had an extreme amount of variation. They ranged from having one picture to a canvas to having up to twenty on the same canvas at one time. There are many different colored pictures in this set. The most major change from one to another is the background color. It is difficult for critics to place the origination of the meaning of this set of works. (Crone pg 29)

The series involving the electric chairs has a very serious political statement. It is a symbol of misuse of governmental sovereignty; it has also been considered and open confession of a deficiency in cultural development. (Crone) About the same time as the electric chair pictures were being shown there were many other quite disturbing sets of pictures being shown. They were of race riots and many were taken directly from newspaper articles of the Nazi Germany and Castro’s revolution in Cuba. (Crone pg 29)

One of the last serial sets that Warhol created before moving on from painting was of flowers. The flowers were produced in an extreme variety of sizes and quantities. These were on display in 1964. The original flowers were taken from a women magazine. Unlike most of his earlier works, these reproductions were touched up by hand on the screen. These are also different in that they do not represent anything to Warhol. They are strictly decorative. The colors used in the painting aren’t used to symbolize anything but just to bring out color in decoration. In all there were about nine hundred of the flower painting made in Warhol’s studio, “The Factory”. These were among the very last of Warhol’s paintings, in the remainder of his life he concentrated on movie making. (Crone pg 30)

During Warhol’s life his work has been controversial. He has become more recognized and famous after his death in 1987. I think that his purpose for being an artist seemed to be different from that of other artists. I’m not convinced he painted and filmed for the love of the art or so much for his purpose in doing it. I think he had a message he wanted to get across and this was the medium through which he chose to express himself.


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