London – Queen Elizabeth II is not only the longest reigning British monarch, she is also the oldest living and longest serving current monarch and head of state anywhere in the world – and with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in full swing, her image holds even greater resonance. Over the 70 years of her reign, the Queen has sat for her portrait countless times, captured by artists and photographers as diverse as Pietro Annigoni, Lucian Freud and Cecil Beaton. Yet one of the most striking representations of the Queen was not the direct result of a sitting. Based on a photograph taken by Peter Grugeon, released to celebrate Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, Andy Warhol’s Queen Elizabeth II gives the Queen a signature Warhol pop art makeover. Queen Elizabeth II, a unique screenprint in colours by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), leads Bonhams’ Prints & Multiples sale on 29 June at New Bond Street, London. The print, which was part of Warhol’s 1985 Reigning Queens series, has an estimate of £120,000 – 180,000.
Laetitia Guillotin, Bonhams Head of Sale, commented: “In this year of the Platinum Jubilee, we are delighted to be offering a unique version of Warhol’s Queen Elizabeth II screenprint outside the standard edition. There are no other impressions in the same colour combination as this one. Warhol was obsessed with the idea of fame, and the most depicted woman in the world is clearly the pinnacle of Warhol’s famous figureheads. This print is truly iconic, both in subject and within the Warhol repertoire.”
Reigning Queens was the largest portfolio Warhol produced, and the last he completed before his untimely death in 1987, containing screenprint portraits of the four ruling female monarchs of the day: Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland.
Warhol was also well aware that his image of Queen Elizabeth II would be instantly recognizable and attractive to collectors, thereby increasing his own fame by association, notably quoting “I want to be as famous as The Queen of England”.
Other highlights of the sale include:
- Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Mick Jagger, from Mick Jagger Portfolio. Screenprint in colours, 1975, signed in felt-tip pen by Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger. Estimate: £40,000 – 60,000.
- Banksy (born 1974), Banksquiat (Grey). Screenprint in colours, 2019. Estimate: £80,000 – £120,000.
- Damien Hirst (born 1965), The Elements (H6-6, H6-7, H6-8, H6-9). The complete set of four laminated giclée prints on aluminium panels, 2020. Estimate: £40,000-60,000.