YOUNG MAN
Andy Warhol
PITTSBURGH 1928 - 1987 NEW YORK CITY
YOUNG MAN
1954
BLACK BALLPOINT INK ON PAPER, ON THE BACK 2 STAMPS OF THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION FOR THE VISUAL ARTS UND INSCRIPTION IN PENCIL: “4F 200.300”

35.2 X 27.9 CM
PROVENANCE

ESTATE OF ANDY WARHOL. NEW YORK

CERTIFICATE

CERTIFICATE  ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION FOR VISUAL ART

Although Andy Warhol is best known for his flamboyant silkscreens, he was also an outstanding and – throughout his life – impassioned draughtsman. Already at a young age, he took instruction at the Carnegie Museum of Art and won several awards for his drawings, even if he had a drawing style all his own, which – because it was unconventional, sometimes to the point of being downright disrespectful – did not always meet the academic standards of his professors. At the same time, his works in the drawing medium also always make reference to American academy training, which took the European tradition of artistic production as a major orientation, and to the study of the early modernist European masters. The superb drawing oeuvres of Picasso, Matisse, Schiele and Grosz – to name just a few – bore an immense influence on the young artist from Pittsburgh, whose refreshing curiosity and penchant for experimentation is clearly reflected in his works. His drawings reveal an artist who absorbs the world around him visually and reflects on what he perceives in the process. Warhol often found his pictorial subject matter in photographs of everyday street scenes whose realism he transformed into a specific symbolism that extracts what he considered essential. Already in these early works we encounter his astounding ability to translate the reality found outdoors into an iconic language. Only rediscovered a few years ago by the art dealer Daniel Blau in the archives of the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York, the drawings shed light on this largely unknown side of Warhol – presumably the most important artist of the second half of the twentieth century – and give us an inkling of the source of his genius. For in these works he laid the foundations for his entire later oeuvre. We encounter portraits, flowers, protestors, pistols, car accidents, everyday objects and the faces of celebrities. The drawings are distinguished throughout by a spirit of experimentation and innovation and the pleasure taken therein. In our examples, the spontaneity of creative energy is also reflected in the employment of modern media such as the ballpoint pen, which Warhol always had conveniently close at hand to record his ideas and impressions. Already here, the Pop artist availed himself of repetitive, conceptual mechanisms that grant artistic status to the fragmentary and the additive, the copy and the monotype, while also anticipating the preoccupation with silkscreen that would one day take him to world fame. Our drawings are charming examples of Andy Warhol’s early draughtsmanship, which – as elegant as it is playful – in the later course of his career would make way for the sober reality of the so-called American way of life, whose brutality has little to do with the carefree characandy ter of these drawings. In the concrete depiction of things, however, Warhol would prove consistently capable of calling attention to the essentials and thus reminding us to be critical in our reception of the imagery today’s world bombards us with.


The Andy Warhol drawing entitled ‘Young Man’ has the character of a snapshot, a passing observation. Warhol presents his model in profile, extracting from everyday life by reducing him to a few essential features. In the manner of the series ‘Young Man with Hearts’, this exceptional drawing leads us to speculate about the nature of the artist’s relationship to the subject. Yet it is left entirely to the viewer to contemplate this mystery, and to seek the solution in the purist lines and forms – but also in motifs such as the little heart in front of the man’s mouth. With this suspenseful and charming sketch, Warhol has executed a work full of questions whose answers it hints at but does not divulge.