colour offset lithograph
image 56 x 55,7 cm (22 x 22 in.) paper 58,8 x 58,6 cm (23 1/8 x 23 in.)
signed and dated lower right edition of approx. 300
Warhol was fascinated, even obsessed, with Hollywood celebrities, especially that rare species that transcended actual fame and earned a place in popular culture. Liz Taylor perfectly embodied Warhol's idea of a Hollywood icon - she was beautiful, rich and famous, but her private life was marked by tragedy. When Warhol created the first portrait of Liz (1963) she was 31 years old, already an Oscar winner, on the verge of divorce from her fourth husband and just recovering from a life-threatening infection. This underlines Warhol's fascination with celebrity and death, which began with his painting of Marilyn Monroe after her suicide in 1962 and continued throughout his oeuvre. For the portrait of Liz Taylor, Warhol used a publicity photo for Taylor's film Butterfield 8 - for which she won an Oscar at the time - as the basis for the silkscreen. The morbid mix of glamour, scandal and illness that plagued Elizabeth Taylor throughout her life made her the ultimate muse for Warhol and a prime example of iconic Hollywood fame. When Warhol was once asked about his belief in the afterlife, he said he would like to be reborn as a large ring on Elizabeth Taylor's finger.