In 1949, Andy Warhol submitted a cheerfully irreverent self-portrait to a competition exhibition at the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. The painting bears little resemblance to the serigraphs of consumer goods that made Warhol an icon of the pop-art movement, but the nerve and humor of the artist are there. Original title The wide gave me my face, But I can choose my own nosethe painting depicts a young man with a finger stuck in his nostril.
The work was rejected from the exhibition, but according to the Andy Warhol Museumit attracted considerable attention at a student exhibit at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), where Warhol pictorial design studied. Now, reports Shirley McMarlin of Tribune-ReviewWarhols relatives prepare to auction Nose pick 1 (as the painting was later titled) and nine other paintings created during Warhol’s formative college years.
Warhol left the works behind when he moved from Pittsburgh to New York just weeks after graduating. His older brother, Paul Warhola, the artist dropped the final a in his surname retained the paintings. After Paul and his wife died, Paul’s seven children inherited the artwork, reports Angelica Villa of ART news.
One of the siblings, illustrator James Warholatell it Tribune-Review which he is currently negotiating with several major auction houses interested in selling.
It’s not something we wanted to do, he explains, but it’s the only way to divide an estate, and many of us need a few extra bucks.
The collection includes whimsical portraits of children as well as more abstract and distorted images, according to Eileen Kinsella of clean art. But nose pick 1, who may be Warhols first self-portraitis the true price, says Warhol expert Richard Polsky Artnet. It will first be auctioned, with Living rooma 1948 watercolor inspired by the artist’s family home.
Warhol began his studies at Carnegie Tech in 1945, with the intention of becoming a good artist, according to the Warhola family website. He struggled to keep up with his freshman classes and had to take a summer drawing class so he could hone his drawing, writes the Andy Warhol Museum. He spent those hot summer months working alongside Paul, who sold produce from a truck, stealing spare time to sketch pictures of customers buying fruit and vegetables. These works were so well received by his teachers that Warhol was received a small scholarship.
The artist then flourished at Carnegie Tech, joining the modern dance club and working as an editor for the student publication, Canoe. It was during his university years that Warhol began experimenting with his blotting-line technique, which combines drawing with engraving and became a staple of Warhol’s commercial artwork of the 1940s and 1950s.
Throughout his career, Warhol nurtured a fascination with self-portraiture. He cut pictures of himself from photo booth stripsrendered his own likeness in dramatic colors on silkscreenand posed with a skull on his shoulder after an assassination attempt in 1968. According to James Warhola, the inspiration for Nose pliers may stem from his time spent with his brothers’ children in Pittsburgh.
While my father was telling the story, the little children were always picking their noses, and my uncle was very disturbed, says James Warhola. Tribune-Review. When he saw my father, he said, can’t they stop?
But Warhol, adds his nephew, had a keen sense of humor. In the art world, you didn’t want to be offensive with your art, he said, but my uncle thought being offensive could work.
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