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Screenprints by Andy Warhol to spearhead Sotheby's sale of Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints
Andy Warhol, Eva Mudocci (After Munch). Unique Screenprint, 1984. Est. 100,000 - 150,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Three exceptional colour prints by Andy Warhol, which appropriate motifs from some of Edvard Munch’s most iconic works, are among the top lots which will appear at Sotheby’s Sale of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints in London on 19 September 2012. Striking, unique and ground-breaking works, The Scream (After Munch), Eva Mudocci (After Munch), and Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm (After Munch) are a rare and enterprising offering from Warhol – a meeting between two of the finest artists of the twentieth century. The prints come to auction from an Important European Collection with a combined estimate of 500,000 – 750,000.

Warhol appropriated Munch’s emotionally charged works to create his own equally evocative and emblematic images. It is perhaps not unexpected that Warhol chose to makes these prints. The pop-artist was fascinated by the history of art and sought to adapt and explore famous motifs from the past through his oeuvre. The universally recognisable work of Munch, a modern master, was the perfect vehicle for Warhol’s vision.

The sale will also include a woodcut by Edvard Munch which depicts The Girls on the Bridge, one of the artist’s most celebrated and popular compositions. Printed in 1918, The Girls on the Bridge is estimated at 180,000 – 200,000.

The Scream (After Munch)
Screenprint in a unique combination of colours, 1984, sheet: 1016 by 813mm
Est. 200,000 - 300,000

Munch’s The Scream is one of most instantly recognisable motifs in both art history and popular culture. An existential cry for the struggle of mankind, the composition is one of the artist’s darkest and most challenging works. In this impression, Warhol makes some radical changes to the original motif, emphasising the basic features of the figure to create a cartoon-like face and exchanging the sombre tones of Munch’s work for his own choice of unique, bright clashing colour combinations. Warhol has succeeded in replicating the feelings of the intense angst of the original – rendering man’s inner turmoil and utmost despair in print.

Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm (After Munch)
Screenprint in a unique combination of colours, 1984, sheet: 813 by 1016mm
Est. 200,000 - 300,000

Andy Warhol’s unnerving screenprint Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm (After Munch) is composed of motifs from two of Munch’s celebrated works. On the left, we see Warhol’s interpretation of Munch’s Madonna. Capturing the moment of the conception, this was one of Munch’s most controversial works. Surrounded by long flowing hair, Warhol’s transforms her into an emblem of powerful femininity, on par with the artist’s prints of Hollywood stars Liz Taylor or Marilyn Monroe. On the right, Warhol pays tribute to Munch’s haunting self-portrait, Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm. The use of the self-portrait reflects Warhol’s anxiety over mortality and his pre-occupation with death.

Eva Mudocci (After Munch)
Screenprint in a unique combination of colours, 1984, sheet: 1016 by 813mm
Est. 100,000 - 150,000

As well as being one of the finest English violinists of her generation, Eva Mudocci was also Edvard Munch’s lover. Munch tried several times to paint the perfect picture of Eva in vain; each time abandoning his attempts and destroying his canvases. He had more success with lithographs, and one such work entitled Madonna (The Brooch), forms the basis for Warhol’s print. In Warhol’s adaptation, the pop artist retains the romantic essence of Munch’s original image, though creates his own 20th century interpretation of the female ideal much like he does in Madonna. The uniqueness of this trial proof is shown through the echo of the brooch upon Eva’s face. This is the only impression where Warhol used this detail, paying tribute to Munch’s original title.

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September 1, 2012

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