Andy Warhol: The Turquoise Marilyn

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Marilyn Monroe painting by Andy Warhol

The Turquoise Marilyn (1964), silk-screen painting by Andy Warhol, china and acrylic on canvas, 101.5 x 101.5 cm (40 in x 40 in)

The Turquoise Marilyn (1964) is one of the five paintings of Marilyn Monroe created in 1964 by the American Pop Artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987). The paintings are square-shaped with sides measuring 40 inches, and painted with different colored backgrounds of turquoise, light blue, sage blue, red and orange for each work.

Four of the finished silk-screen paintings, except the Turquoise Marilyn, were stacked at ‘The Factory’, Warhol’s studio in Manhattan. The American performance artist Dorothy Podber, a friend of The Factory photographer Billy Name, saw the four paintings and asked Warhol if she could shoot them. He agreed, thinking that she wanted to photograph the paintings. She took out a revolver from her purse, and fired a shot at the stack of the four paintings, putting holes right through the foreheads of the four Marilyns. After this incident, they became known as The Shot Marilyns, and Dorothy Podber was never again allowed to enter The Factory. The fifth painting of the series, the Turquoise Marilyn, was not in the stack and hence escaped from being shot.

Not only Andy Warhol, but many other artists were inspired by the beauty and life of Monroe. Some of the other famous artists, who depicted Marilyn Monroe in their art, include Salvador Dali, Willem de Kooning, Richard Hamilton, Keith Haring, Gottfried Helnwein, Robert Indiana, David LaChapelle, and James Rosenquist.

In the 1960s, apart from American consumer products such as such as Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell’s Soup Cans, Warhol painted a number of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Troy Donahue, Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor.

In a Dec 2011 auction at Christie’s in New York, Warhol’s Elizabeth Taylor fetched $662,500. One of the 22 paintings of Elvis Presley by the artist, the Double Elvis, is expected to fetch up to $50 million when it will be auctioned at a New York auction in May 2012.

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