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Diving Into Andy Warhol's Drawing Practice

  • Andy Warhol - Two Male Heads Face to Face
January 13, 2019
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

The Prince of Pop Andy Warhol is undoubtedly one of the best-known artists on a global scale, yet certain aspects of his work were not of particular public interest as his silk screens or photographs. Such is the case with his drawings which were simple sketches resembling preparations for large canvas compositions; these works are valuable proof supporting to full extent Warhol’s multifaceted and multimedia approach.

At The New York Academy of Art, the visitors can soon visit an exhibition titled Andy Warhol: By Hand, Drawings from the 1950s -1980s, which surveys Warhol’s three-decade-long drawing practice.

Left Andy Warhol – Mick Jagger Right Andy Warhol - Self Portrait Andy Warhol at the Age of Two
Left: Andy Warhol – Mick Jagger, 1975. Graphite on wove paper, 40.25 x 27 inches, 48.5 x 35.25 inches framed. Courtesy Paul Kasmin / Right: Andy Warhol – Self Portrait Andy Warhol at the Age of Two, 1952. Ink on paper, 10.98 x 8.5 inches. Courtesy Daniel Blau, Munich. Courtesy The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS)

The Exhibition Context

The curators Vincent Fremont, who was Warhol’s right-hand man for two decades and the founder of The Andy Warhol Foundation, and David Kratz, a current President of the institution, decided to show one hundred and fifty Warhol drawings, some of them never before exhibited in the United States. Fremont explains the exhibition aim:

It is important for people to know the vital role drawing played in Andy Warhol’s life as an artist. By focusing only on Andy’s drawings, this exhibition is a way to highlight without distraction Andy’s innovative process and experimentation which encompassed pen and ink, ballpoint pen, blotted line, graphite, and acrylic paint.

Andy Warhol - Gun
Andy Warhol – Gun, 1981-82. Graphite on HMP paper, 30.375 x 40.25. Courtesy Paul Kasmin. Courtesy The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS)

The Selection of Works

All the drawings will be loaned from the private collections of dealers Daniel Blau (the works from this collection will be presented in the United States for the first time), Paul Kasmin and Anton Kern. The installment will not be presented chronologically but thematically, since the curators were more interested in presenting the drawings of children, nudes, and portraits (including self-portraits) separately.

The idea is to present the development of Warhol’s focus on drawing by showing his artistic growth, from his student days to becoming one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation. The subjects reflect his frequent themes, from celebrity iconography and narcissistic depictions to the recurrent fascination with the male body.

Left Andy Warhol - Unindentified Male Right Andy Warhol - Excited Male Torso
Left: Andy Warhol – Unidentified Male. Black ballpoint on manila paper, 16.75 x 13.875 inches. Courtesy Paul Kasmin / Right: Andy Warhol – Excited Male Torso, 1957. Black pen on paper, 16.89 x 13.78 inches. Courtesy Daniel Blau, Munich. Courtesy The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Andy Warhol By Hand at The New York Academy of Art

The drawings will reveal an apparently less familiar aspect of Andy Warhol as a dreamy and quit shy person, which differs from the image of an eccentric artist offering spectacular, colorful silk screens, reproductions of everyday consumer objects and ephemeral events.

Warhol was also one of the founders of The New York Academy of Art, developed in the 1980s with agenda of promoting and preserving skilled training in drawing, painting, and sculpture.

Andy Warhol: By Hand, Drawings from the 1950s -1980s will be on display at the New York Academy of Art from 22 January until 10 March 2019.

Featured image: Andy Warhol – Two Male Heads Face to Face, Outline, 1952. Ink and graphite on paper, 5 x 5.625 inches, 8.125 x 8.75 inches framed. Courtesy Anton Kern. Courtesy The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS). All images courtesy The New York Academy of Art.