Queen Elizabeth II, from the original exhibition catalogue for "Reigning Queens"
Queen Elizabeth II, from the original exhibition catalogue for "Reigning Queens", 1985
Signed in black ink
Image: 14 x 18 cm
Framed: 36 x 40.5 cm
Warhol's enduring fascination with celebrity found its apotheosis in the 1985 portfolio "Reigning Queens". A passionate admirer of monarchy and its enigmatic power, he created four different portraits for each of the four queens reigning at the time: Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Beatrix of the Netherlands, Margarethe of Denmark and Ntombi Twala of Swaziland.
These monarchs take their place alongside Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in Warhol's iconography, their regal aura inverted into kitsch by the outlandish colour palette of high Pop Art. Warhol celebrates his ideal of glamour while also making a subtle comment on the artifice of power and how it is projected in the mass media.
This fabulous piece comes from the original exhibition catalogue for the exhibition of the Reigning Queens series at the Castelli Gallery in Manhattan. It reproduces the purple variant in Elizabeth II's quartet of portraits and was boldly hand-signed on the opening night in black marker.
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