UAB receives six original, never-displayed Andy Warhol prints

Pristine Andy Warhol prints will join more than 150 Warhol Polaroids and black-and-white photos gifted to UAB in 2008.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham College of Arts and Sciences has been gifted six never-before-displayed prints created by the late artist Andy Warhol.

This significant gift comes to UAB after the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts voted to make new gifts to all institutions that were recipients of photographic works from The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program. In 2008, UAB received 150 works by Warhol as part of a gift from the foundation, which distributed works to nearly 200 university museums nationwide. The gift to UAB included both Polaroids, for which Warhol was famous, and 8-by-10 black-and-white prints. 

warhol prints-4 sThe new gifts are large screen prints on paper. They were delivered and opened for inspection at the Birmingham Museum of Art at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14. While the images have been seen, these specific prints never left Warhol’s studio.

“These works are pristine and in the state they were coming off the press,” said UAB College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Palazzo, Ph.D. “They have never been framed, let alone displayed, and were in the artist’s possession at the time of his death. Given the nature of this gift, the works are essentially priceless. UAB is honored to accept such a gift that will doubtless interest and inspire many students in the future.”

Palazzo says he hopes to have the works available to be seen by the public in 2014 in the new Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, which is near completion.

This is a significant addition to the UAB permanent art collection, and it will benefit the relationship between the UAB Visual Arts Gallery and the Department of Art and Art History, says Department Chair Lauren Lake, MFA.

“The relationship enriches the curriculum by providing an ongoing opportunity for students and professors to examine and research original works of art, which is an invaluable component of arts education,” Lake said.

UAB is especially pleased with the wide range of Warhol’s working methods reflected in the prints, as well as the compelling thematic links among them, says John Fields, MFA, interim director of the UAB Visual Arts Gallery.

“This is a spectacularly generous gift not only to UAB but to the city of Birmingham as well,” Fields said. “These are major works by one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, and we are thrilled that they have found a permanent home at UAB. We anticipate being able to use these in a number of dynamic presentations both to our students and to the wider public.” 

The works are:

  • “Electric Chair,” 1971, screen print on paper, 35 ½ by 48 inches

  • “Vote McGovern,” 1972, screen print on Arches 88 paper, 42 by 42 inches

  • “Skulls,” 1976, screen print on Strathmore Bristol paper, 30 1/8 by 40 inches

  • “Hammer and Sickle,” 1977, screen print on Strathmore Bristol paper, 30 1/8 by 40  inches

  • “Joseph Beuys in Memoriam,” 1986, screen print on Arches 88 paper, 32 by 24 inches

  • “Red Lenin,” 1987, screen print on Arches 88 paper, 39 3/8 by 29 ½ inches

Gail Andrews, director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, says that the prints, joining the already impressive gifts of Polaroids given several years ago, enable UAB as a strong interpreter of Warhol’s work.

“There are many exciting collaborations with the museum’s collection, most directly with the ‘Hammer and Sickle’ screen print and our drawing of the same subject,” Andrews said. “The opportunities for exhibitions, teaching and research are significantly enhanced. This is great for the university and for our community at large.”

Warhol, a pioneering artist who worked in media ranging from drawing and painting to prints, photography and sculpture, died suddenly in 1987. He left the bulk of his estate to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and specified its broad mission to be the advancement of the visual arts.

Michael Straus, chairman of the board of the Andy Warhol Foundation, says that the gifts of photographs and now prints to UAB and other universities are all in fulfillment of that mission, by making available to the widest public audience compelling images together with material that will encourage scholarly and other educational exploration of Warhol’s extensive body of work. Speaking also as a Birmingham resident and a trustee of the BMA, Straus added that he is especially pleased at the degree to which these gifts will greatly expand UAB’s own holdings, and, with the opening of the AEIVA, thereby foster the already expanding and fruitful relationship between UAB and the museum, all for the benefit of the public at large. For more details, visit www.Warholfoundation.org.

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