Andy Warhol

Self-Portrait with Fright Wig (1986)

About this artwork

This Polaroid is one of several that Warhol took in preparation for a series of large-scale paintings commissioned by Anthony d’Offay for an exhibition at his London gallery in 1986. In the photographs, and subsequently transferred into the paintings, Warhol’s skull-like head is isolated from his body, floating against a dark background. This composition bears striking similarities to a Robert Mapplethorpe photographic portrait of Warhol from the same year. In both, Warhol wears his famous silver wig, but, in this Polaroid, the hair stands on end in an almost manic fashion. He is turned slightly to the right, with the black of his sunglasses melting into the background, creating the impression of a skull’s sunken eye-socket. This series of self-portraits was the last Warhol completed before his death in 1987.

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  • title: Self-Portrait with Fright Wig
  • accession number: AR00314
  • artist: Andy WarholAmerican (1928 - 1987)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • date created: 1986
  • measurements: 9.50 x 7.20 cm (framed: 36.00 x 30.50 x 3.00 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was born 'Andrew Warhola' to Slovakian immigrant parents living in Pittsburgh in America. Warhol's subject matter was taken from popular culture, in the form of advertising, comics, magazines and packaging. He was able to produce his works quickly by transferring images onto canvas or paper through photography and screenprinting, sometimes with the help of assistants. Warhol stated that he wanted to make works that showed no trace of having been produced by hand. His interest in mass production reflected the fast-developing consumer culture he recognised in America. His New York studio, 'The Factory,' became a popular meeting place for artists, drop-outs, celebrities and bands.