A recent gift to the Ackland is a charming portrait sketch by Andy Warhol. The work enriches the Museum’s holdings of Warhol prints and photographs, and is a welcome addition to our extensive collection of drawings. Adding to the Mix 7 presents this portrait in the context of works by artists who influenced Warhol’s early work and by others who created similar types of subject matter.
Andy Warhol moved to New York in 1949, where he launched his career as a commercial artist. He soon came into contact with artists who were introducing European modernism to New York, many of them recent immigrants to the United States. He was particularly interested in the work of Austrian and German Expressionists such as Egon Schiele and Max Beckmann, whose drawings are in this exhibition.
Warhol also began making portraits of artists and celebrities, many of them his friends. This practice increasingly became his principal interest, culminating in the large-scale paintings and screen prints based on photographs from the 1970s and ’80s.
His portrait of Susumu Ikuta demonstrates the sureness of Warhol’s drawing and his ability to capture the essence of his subject through an economy of line. Although not a caricature, it is a playful rendition, made by a friend for a friend.
Adding to the Mix is an ongoing series of installations that place select recent acquisitions in the evocative context of resonant works already in the collection.
Images from the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:
Andy Warhol, American, 1928-1987: Susumu Ikuta, c. 1960; ink on paper, mounted on board. Purchased through the generosity of an anonymous donor in honor of Emily Kass, 2012.15.
Egon Schiele, Austrian, 1890-1918: Seated Woman, 1918; black colored pencil. Burton Emmett Collection, 58.1.252.
William Auerbach-Levy, American, born in Russia, 1889-1964: Eugene O’Neill, before 1932; graphite and ink. Gift of the Ackland Associates, 85.13.3.
Giovanni Boldini, Italian, 1842-1931: Marie Louise Hazard, 1913; wax crayon. Gift of John Seelye in honor of Catherine Seelye, 82.51.1.