Release Date: March 13, 2000
National Gallery of Art Acquisitions of Late Warhol Painting, Drawing by Reinhart, and Photographs by Lyon and Winogrand, Made Possible by Collectors Committee
Washington, DC—The National Gallery of Art's acquisition of Self-Portrait (1986), a striking painting of and by Andy Warhol (1928-1987); a drawing by Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967); and photographs by Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) and Danny Lyon (b. 1942) has been made possible by the Gallery's Collectors Committee.
"Thanks to the continuing generosity of the Collectors Committee, the nation's collection has been enriched by its first painting from Andy Warhol's important late period, a time when the leader of the pop movement reinvented his work and influenced a younger generation of artists," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are also very pleased to get our first drawing by abstract expressionist Ad Reinhardt, as well as important photographs of contemporary life in America by Garry Winogrand and Danny Lyon."
Andy Warhol's Self-Portrait, which measures 80 x 80 inches, is now on view on the mezzanine of the East Building. It is one of a sequence of large-scale, often sensationalistic "fright-wig" self-portraits that the artist created throughout his final years. This composition shows four heads, each screened twice, on a single canvas. The heads are arranged off-square, producing an unsettling effect of compositional and psychological instability. Executed in a palette of shocking pink and yellow against a ground of glossy, impenetrable black, they show the artist portraying himself as a floating death's-head. Before this acquisition the Gallery's holdings of works by Warhol included three paintings, one drawing, and forty-six prints. Two classic period images, A Boy for Meg (1962) and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1963), are on view in the concourse galleries of the East Building.
Untitled (1942) is a dazzling abstraction in ink and watercolor that exemplifies Ad Reinhardt's impressive skills as a calligrapher. Its open structure and bright color suggest the origins of Reinhardt's abstractions, which eventually became quite somber and minimal. The Gallery's collection also includes four paintings and one print by Reinhardt.
The portfolio of fifteen gelatin silver prints by Garry Winogrand, who was inspired by master photographers Walker Evans and Robert Frank, represents some of his most significant work. The portfolio contains photographs from several of his series, including Women are Beautiful (1975), the New York Zoo, the Texas State Fair, and the Los Angeles Airport. Gaucho Field Meet, Chicago (1966), a gelatin silver print by Danny Lyon, depicts a young boy and his mother in a car. It was taken shortly after the artist joined the Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club, the Midwest version of Hell's Angels. Some of these images and others by these artists in the Gallery's collection may be seen on the Gallery's Web site.
History of the Collectors Committee
Since 1975 the Collectors Committee has made possible the acquisition of more than two hundred works of art. Approximately half of these acquisitions have been works by living artists. The committee was formed in 1975 under the leadership of Ruth Carter Stevenson, chairman of the Gallery's board of trustees from 1993 to1997. The Collectors Committee is currently chaired by Barney A. Ebsworth and Doris Fisher, both major collectors of twentieth-century art. Ebsworth, from St. Louis, is the founder and retired chairman of INTRAV, Royal Cruise Line, and Clipper Cruise Line. Many works from his collection are on view in the National Gallery of Art's East Building in the exhibition Twentieth-Century American Art: The Ebsworth Collection, 5 March through 11 June 2000, and will be presented at the Seattle Museum of Art, 10 August through 12 November 2000. Fisher, who lives in San Francisco, is co-founder with her husband, Donald, of The Gap.
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