(Pittsburg 1928 – New York City 1987)
Ladies and Gentlemen (1975)
Signed, dated 75 and numbered 31/125 (there were also 25 artist’s proofs) on the reverse
Printed by Alexander Heinrici, New York Published by Luciano Anselmino, Milan Screenprint on Arches paper, 87.8 x 69.7 cm (image size) / 110.5 x 73.1 cm (sheet size)
– Galerie Kornfeld, Bern, 2018
– Corporate collection, the Netherlands
Feldmann & Schellmann II.132
Although Andy Warhol was fascinated by the famous, the people in his Ladies and Gentlemen series are less well known. The subjects were recruited by Warhol’s friend Bob Colacello, who scouted many in the nightclub Gilded Grape, a popular hangout for New York’s black and Latin trans women and drag queens. Warhol considered drag queens to be the ultimate expression of the movie star presence he sought to capture. These individuals drew heavily on the Hollywood idols before them and dedicated their lives to the performance of their self-fashioned personas, becoming manufactured cultural icons in their own right. Warhol was also drawn to the artifice and gender role play associated with drag. He remarked: “I know that people who think they’re working the hardest are the men who are trying to be women. They do double time. They do all the things: they think about shaving and not shaving; primping and not primping; buying men’s and women’s clothes. I guess it’s interesting to try to be another sex.” In 2014, the Warhol Foundation published an official list of all of the Ladies and Gentlemen portraits. The drag queen portraited in this print is the only one they could not identify, and therefore she remains anonymous. The Italian art dealer Luciano Anselmino, who commissioned the series, came up with the theatrical title Ladies and Gentlemen.