Goethe. 1982. Silkscreen in colors. Feldmann/Schellmann/Defendi II.270-273. Signed, numbered and inscribed. One of 22 artist proofs. On Lenox Museum board. 96 x 96.5 cm (37.7 x 37.9 in), the full sheet. The complete set. Printed by Rupert Jasen Smith, New York (with the blindstamp). Published by Editionen Schellmann & Klüser, Munich/New York, in cooperation with Denise René/Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf (verso with the copyright stamp). [SM]. • The complete series is very rare. • From the edition of artist copies. • In a very good state of preservation.
PROVENANCE: Private collection Belgium.
LITERATURE: Forty are better than one. Edition Schellmann 1969-2009, published by Jörg Schellmann, Ostfildern 2009, pp. 342-343.
The eyes tired, carrying a backpack, the jacket badly fitting– apparently one of many tourists who get their picture taken in front of Tischbein’s famous painting "Goethe in der römischen Campagna". This is how Barbara Klemm captured Andy Warhol in front of the work in 1981, just a year earlier it had served him as source of inspiration for his portrait of the German poet. A commission for a portrait by order of the German publisher Siegfried Unseld led the king of Pop-Art to Frankfurt in 1980. Together with his client Warhol visited the Städel-Museum where Unseld encouraged him to make a variation of Tischbein’s painting. Based on a photo, the "court painter of the 1970s", as art historian Robert Rosenblum called Warhol (cf. Robert Rosenblum, Andy Warhol: Der Hofmaler der Siebziger, in: ex. cat. Andy Warhol, Porträts, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 1993; Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London 1994, Munich 1993), transferred the picture of Goethe into a modern Pop-Art portrait. He added graphic elements to his silkscreen method so that the motif is expanded by a pictorial surface structure and the unmistakable artistic signature. The concentration on the face and its over-sized representation follows Tischbein’s original intention to pay a great deal of attention to the face. He wrote in a letter to Johann Caspar Lavater: ".. I want to render his face as exact and true as possible, as you can hardly find a happier and more expressive head [sic]" (Jonas Fränkel (editor), Goethes Briefe an Charlotte von Stein, vol. 5: Commentary/Register, Berlin 1962, pp. 199f.). [CE]