Saturday 22 January 2022

"Red Lenin" by Andy Warhol (1987)

Red Lenin by Andy Warhol (1987)

“Warhol used a photograph by Philipp Schonborn to transform the Russian leader into an icon of the 1980s. Unlike the other icons ‘manipulated’ by the artist, the framework is here minimal: Lenin’s face and lapel, in a bright orange/yellow. Emerge from a broad scarlet red ‘sea – the symbolic colour of the October Revolution and the Red Army, but also of the Red Terror, the campaign of repressions and execution carried our by the Bolsheviks during the Civil War. The leader’s silhouette is undefined and the only figurative detail appears at the bottom edge, where his forearm rests on a stack of books, to symbolize Lenin’s commitment as a theorist and intellectual.”

 - Excerpt from the lot essay at Christie’s Auctioneers.

It was exhibited at the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art, Medzilaborce, Slovakia from 1991 to 2021.

The image also formed the front cover of the biography of Lenin by Robert Service which was published in the United Kingdom by Macmillan in 2000 and in the United States by Harvard University Press in 2001.

Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Party which seized power during the October Revolution of 1917. He was the first leader of the USSR which was established in 1922.

He died on January 21st, 1924.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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