This self-portrait – one of Warhol’s last – was made in the year before he died in 1987 in New York from complications following gall bladder surgery. For Warhol, art was as much public performance and the public’s perception as original creation.
Over the years he made dozens of self portraits and carefully crafted his own public persona – a persona which, arguably, became as famous as his art works. In this image, Warhol makes ample use of a spiky bright ‘fright’ wig (he owned more than 40 wigs) set against chalk white skin and bushy dark eyebrows. He looks intently at the viewer, almost inviting them to challenge him. Is there anything deeper there?
According to Warhol, no. ‘If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am,’ he once said. ‘There’s nothing behind it.’