Offered for the first time at auction, Self-Portrait (1963-64) marked a crucial turning point in the then 35-year-old Warhol’s career when he was propelled into the ranks of artistic icon and joined Van Gogh and Picasso before him as an important self-portraitist.
‘In the age of Instagram, Warhol’s fabled prediction that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” has never felt more prophetic,’ said contemporary art specialist, James Sevier. “And the artist’s first self-portraits – created using a strip of photographs taken in a New York dime store photo-booth – have never felt more relevant to contemporary culture. This is a work of immense art historical importance that marks the watershed moment when Warhol joined the canon of the greatest self-portraitists.’
After being persuaded by his New York dealer Ivan Karp of the legendary Leo Castelli gallery, Warhol created a series of silkscreen self-portraits in the early 1960s. Up until then he had never put himself in front of the camera, but the use of photo-booths appealed to Warhol’s Pop Art sentiment for their mechanical and populist nature. He considered the series a success and continued to create self portraits throughout the 60s.
In 2011, a Self-Portrait quadtych sold for a record figure of US$38,442,500 (around UK£30 million) at Christies, so we anticipate this work will exceed its UK£5–7 million estimate, especially after the sale of Basquiat’s Untitled for an astounding US$110.5 million in May.