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About This Artwork
Liz #3 [Early Colored Liz], 1963
Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen
101.6 x 101.6 cm (40 x 40 in.)
Partial and promised gift of Stefan T. Edlis, 2015.160
Pop Art icon Andy Warhol’s embrace of mass culture radically altered the course of late twentieth-century art history, redefining both what a work of art can or should depict as well as the way in which it can be made. His breakthrough artistic moment came when he took the commercial printing process of photo-emulsion silkscreen and applied it to canvas. This allowed him to reproduce the same image over and over, quickly and efficiently. Warhol celebrated both products and personalities, giving equal weight to soup cans and movie stars. He began using images of Elizabeth Taylor in early 1962. Her beauty and allure fueled interest in the sordid tragedies of her personal life, which included failed marriages, love affairs, and a near-death experience that occurred while filming Cleopatra (1963). Liz #3 [Early Colored Liz] comes from a series of thirteen canvases, each with the same image of Taylor set before a jewel-toned background. Warhol used a preexisting publicity still of Taylor as his source material, which he cropped and then enlarged so that the actress literally fills the screen. Her signature features — her eyes and lips — have been accentuated with colors that hover between vibrant and vulgar. This garish use of “makeup” is meant to suggest style and glamor, reinforcing Taylor’s celebrity status.