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Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol

The Marilyns: Capturing a Legend
From his early childhood, Andy Warhol was fascinated by the myth of stardom. The seemingly exciting and decadent lives of the young and famous fuelled Warhol’s imagination. His attraction to the glamorous world of Hollywood in later years would become the inspiration for much of his artistic work, most notably, Warhol’s trademark silkscreens. Not only would Warhol become one of the most recognizable names in art, but his silkscreens of celebrities would also help to solidify the legendary careers of those he painted. The luminous Marilyn Monroe was the subject of endless fascination for Warhol, and together they made artistic history.

Shot Blue Marilyn, 1964
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Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was drawn to Marilyn Monroe. From the very first time Warhol watched her light up the silver screen, he was in awe. The attraction he had to Monroe was not simply because of her beauty though, in fact, he felt he identified with her in a way few others could. His perception of her was bi-fold: an object of desire and a role model. Because of his deep appreciation for her, Warhol was able to illuminate the hidden and quite often dark side of her personality in his work. The famous Marilyn Monroe silkscreens by Andy Warhol quite accurately portray the legendary actress’s beauty and sex appeal, but in a complex and unique way.

Marilyn Monroe Silkscreens
Tragically, in 1962, Andy Warhol’s celebrity muse Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. However, her legend would not die; shortly after her death, Warhol completed a series of artistic works called “the Marilyns” to pay tribute to a woman he deeply admired. The initial colored pictures he created of Monroe were remarkably beautiful, but his most famous depiction of her came from a photograph. Using a publicity shot taken by Gene Korman for the film Niagara made in 1953, Warhol cropped the glossy photo to fit his canvas. He then made art history as it were when he silkscreened the composition for several paintings. Warhol reproduced several times over the image of Monroe’s face. In the process of reproduction, he invented a style he would later become fond of and would render it famous for silkscreening.

As Andy Warhol’s career skyrocketed, he would become famous for a number of brilliant and groundbreaking works. His art was unpredictable and shattered all preconceptions in the art world making him a legend. But even as the name of Andy Warhol became known the world over, his famous sikscreened images of Marilyn Monroe served as a reminder of his artistic beginnings. The great screen beauty who died a premature and tragic death not only inspired Warhol but also transformed his career and left an indelible mark on his life. The profound connection that Warhol had with Monroe was deeply felt in his work, and he was eternally grateful to have known a woman of such significant interior and exterior beauty.


Article written by Jessica Corbett:
Jessica Corbett is an modern day artist and is the proud owner/author of the website Andy Warhol Posters 'n' Pop Art.


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