Shortly before his death in 1987, Andy Warhol created his last series of portraits of Lenin, thus completing a consistent oeuvre in the spirit of Pop Art.
“It’s about liking things and freeing art from abstraction and inwardness. You take the outside and put it inside, or you take the inside and put it outside.”
Andy Warhol’s final exhibition at Galerie Klüser, which opened two days after his death, was preceded by the joint idea of the artist and his gallerist Bernd Klüser to motivically turn away from the classic American everyday icons with a new project.
A photograph of Lenin, which shows him as a revolutionary and intellectual at a table with books, serves as the model for this series of works, the significance of which cannot yet be foreseen at this point in time.
Andy Warhol spent the following months making test prints, until finally all the works were completed in December 1986: the result is a series that includes works on canvas in three different sizes, some collages and drawings, and a screen print as an edition.
The motif itself played a subordinate role for Warhol. His best-known works stage symbols of a society that was shaped by increasing consumption and capitalism.
Symbols of communism such as the hammer and sickle, but also Mao and Lenin seem like visual antitheses to the allegories of pop culture.
Works from the series are now part of large museum collections, such as that of the Lenbachhaus in Munich or the Museum of Modern Art.