Description & Technical information

In 1977, Warhol
photographed Muhammad Ali at his training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania. New
York collector Richard Weisman had commissioned Warhol to do a series of portraits
of well-known athletes such as the footballer Pelé, which came to be known as
his Athletes series. What was unique
about this series was that the image was taken by Warhol with his camera rather
from a stock photo. Each athlete had to allow the artist to take as many
Polaroids as he needed, trying to capture the perfect image for his final work.

In this image Muhammad
Ali is not depicted as a sportsman, he is presented as a contemporary icon,
idealised and heightened to an almost mystical level. He is portrayed active
and alert, raising his fists, the tools of his trade to which he owes his fame,
in a combative pose. Warhol was fascinated by Ali as he had managed to raise himself
up from a humble background to become a star. Warhol was also interested in the
media and its voyeuristic relationship with violence and he always conveyed a
sense of objectivity and detachment in its representation because of this.

Date:  1978
Period:  20th century
Origin:  America
Medium: Silkscreen print in colours
Signature: Signed on each print, Andy Warhol 58/150

Dimensions: 101.6 x 76.2 cm (40 x 30 inches)
Provenance: Private Collection, Ireland


Catalogue  Raisonné  F. & S., II.179-182

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints