Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol (1978)
About this artwork
Warhol photographed the boxer, Muhammad Ali, in 1977 as part of his 'Athletes' series. The project was initiated by the art collector and sports enthusiast, Richard Weisman, and featured the likes of the footballer, Pelé, and golfer, Jack Nicklaus. At first Warhol was unfamiliar with the sports stars but characteristic of his obsession with fame, he recalled: “I really got to love the athletes because they are the really big stars”. Ali was not an easy subject but Warhol managed to capture a powerful shot with the boxer’s fists poised, ready to punch. In the screenprint reproduced here, prior to printing the image Warhol worked into the surface with paint to create the impression of movement. Ali’s fixed stare mimics the concentration required during a fight.
- title: Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol
- accession number: AR00394
- artist: Andy WarholAmerican (1928 - 1987)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Work on paper
- date created: 1978
- measurements: 76.50 x 61.00 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.
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.