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9 / Portraits

Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg
Artist / Origin Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987)
Region: North America
Date 1974
Material Screenprint
Credit © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of Diane von Furstenberg and the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

expert perspective

David Patrick ColumbiaEditor, newyorksocialdiary.com

Additional Resources

Baume, Nicholas, and Peter C. Sutton, eds. About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press in association with the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Andy Warhol Museum, 1999.

Clemente, Francesco. Andy Warhol: Polaroids, Celebrities and Self-Portraits. Berlin: Jablonka Galerie, 2001.

Shafrazi, Tony, Carter Ratcliff, and Robert Rosenblum. Andy Warhol Portraits. London: Phaidon, 2009.

Warhol, Andy, Henry Geldzahler, and Robert Rosenblum. Andy Warhol: Portraits of the Seventies and Eighties. London: Thames & Hudson, 1993.

Diane von Furstenberg

» Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987)

Pop artist Andy Warhol lived a glamorous life full of parties and glitterati.

He constantly encountered famous actors, singers, writers, and fashion designers and was an integral part of their social circles. In the early 1960s, he began his fine art career creating silkscreen paintings of mundane consumer products, such as Campbell’s soup cans and Brillo boxes, on the one hand and legendary celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, on the other. Silkscreen is a mechanical process, which allowed Warhol to print multiple identical copies of a photograph or newspaper clipping. The technique challenged traditional values of originality and artistic touch and helped Warhol cultivate his own identity as an icon of cool detachment.

Eager to associate themselves with Andy and his taste-making art, members of the society “in-crowd” were delighted to have their portraits done by him. Warhol, in turn, applied all of his considerable business sense to securing commissions. His working process involved taking Polaroid photos of his subjects until he got just the right shot. That image was then converted into a silkscreen. Using the same screens, Warhol could produce multiple versions of the same image, changing out the color of hair, facial features, clothing, or background. If a subject had physical flaws, the artist had no interest in exposing them. He produced sleek images that flattered his clients, who often bought more than one copy.

Diane von Furstenberg is characteristic of Warhol’s portraits from the 1970s and 1980s. The portrait shows von Furstenberg in three-quarter view with a shock of black hair framing her perfectly flat, colorless face. Warhol liked to work with very high contrast photos that emphasized this kind of play between light and dark. Von Furstenberg’s eyes and lips are added on top as discrete shapes of bright color, complemented by a solid red background.

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