Andy Warhol's Ladies and Gentlemen is the artist's photographic project featuring the unknown faces of drag queens and African-American transvestites. Ladies and Gentlemen belong to a series of Andy Warhol limited edition prints: the artist created two limited editions with this theme, one colour set is composed of 10 signed screen prints on paper, the other set is made of black and white photography acetates.
These works reflect the characteristics of Warhol's style: the photographic cut of the portrait, the right for innovation, the expressive use of color and the realization of the project.
For the realization of the project Warhol has performed two phases, a photographic and a screen printing.
Through photography, Warhol initially captures the incisive faces and glances of his subjects with Polaroids.
Through the screen printing phase, in which the Polaroid is first transposed on Arches paper and then colored, Andy Warhol releases the message that shines through the eyes of the posers.
The brushstrokes of color are of expressive power: the contour lines of the portrayed faces show a sense of pure transgression and security, alluding to the vicious soul of his new subjects.
For this series Warhol decides to discard the representation of divas and icons of the moment, devoting himself to new and unknown faces.
The idea for the creation of the project came to the Italian editor Luciano Anselmino, who proposed to Andy Warhol to portray the faces of the stars of his Factory.
The artist, not being in good relations with most of these divas, decided to portray faces, but with unknown profiles.
For "Ladies and Gentlemen" Andy Warhol chooses to photograph African-American transvestites and drag queens of the New York nightclub "The Gilden Escape".
The fusion of female make-up and the masculine features of these people became the reflection of the United States of the '70s, where they began to accept and share their sexuality.
The glimmer of a more open mindset was immediately welcomed by these personalities, who made their transgression their sincere way of being.
With the title "Ladies and Gentlemen" Andy Warhol embraces the gender duality of the protagonists of his artwork.
The expressiveness and the strong emotional charge that transpires from the looks of the subjects make Warhol's screen prints provocative.
The portfolio of screen prints, created in 1975 by Andy Warhol, "Ladies and Gentlemen" is a series of 10 screen prints made in a limited edition of 125 pieces.
On the back of the artworks there are the circulation number and the signature of Andy Warhol, both in pencil.
On the fourth edition of the catalogue "Andy Warhol Prints - A Catalogue Raisonné 1962-1987" edited by Frayda Feldman and Jorg Schellmann, the "Ladies and Gentlemen" can be found on pages 90 and 91.
The edition number shown here is incorrect as there is a circulation of 250 copies for each of the 10 screenprints.
On page 385 of the catalogue the error is corrected, clarifying for Andy Warhol's screen prints "Ladies and Gentlemen" a print run of 125 copies, as written by Warhol behind the artwork.
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