Essay, Research Paper: Warhol`s Portraits


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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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