2.5 х 6 in. cm.
This work on paper is a rare two-dollar bill dating from 1953 that is signed by Andy Warhol in black felt tip marker. Throughout his artistic career, Warhol was preoccupied with the iconography of money, often using dollar signs, images of currency, and actual dollar bills in his art. By signing a rare two dollar bill, Warhol effectively defaced it while also tremendously increasing its value, thus generating a tension between artistic and commercial worth.
Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987), born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, PA, was the most prominent Pop artist of the twentieth century. After studying design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Warhol moved to New York City in 1949 to pursue a career as a commercial artist. In the early 1960s, Warhol began to create paintings based on advertisement imagery. Shocking to many in its embrace of “low art” and its detachment from emotion, this early work quickly brought him fame; during this period, he used techniques such as screen printing and stenciling to produce his well-known series featuring Campbell’s soup cans, media about disasteres, and electric chairs, as well as portraits of media stars (Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Elvis Presley were among his subjects). As his fame grew, Warhol established a studio called The Factory on 47th Street, where gathered a group of eccentrics he called the “Superstars.” With the Superstars, he created a number of experimental films, such as Sleep, Chelsea Girls, and Empire; these films were often banned by the police for their vulgarity. In 1968, Valerie Solanas, a former member of Warhol’s entourage, attempted to kill the artist and others outside of The Factory. After surviving the attack, Warhol began to focus on celebrity portraits, garnering considerable earnings but little critical approval. With Gerard Malanga, he founded Interview Magazine, which is still in print today. In the 1980s, Warhol’s work was revitalized by collaborations with younger artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring, and he produced a renowned series of paintings, including The Last Supper. Warhol died in 1987 from complications following an operation.
Selected Public Collections:
Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille, France
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Tate Modern, London, England
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY