'Liz' by Andy Warhol (1964) in high resolution

red liz warholAndy Warhol produced this image of Liz just when he was gaining recognition as a leading figure in the American Pop Art movement. After a decade of working in advertising as a commercial artist, Warhol appropriated ideas and techniques from popular culture and the mass media to define his career in the fine arts.

Warhol carved out a niche for himself as a contemporary portrait artist of glamorous movie stars and wealthy celebrities. He reveled in his own stardom and prophesized that every person would be famous for at least fifteen minutes at some point in their lives. This statement reflects the power of mass media to infiltrate our lives and the purposeful yet artful superficiality that characterizes his work.

In Liz, Warhol does not reveal the true features and expressions of Elizabeth Taylor, but portrays instead a sex symbol that appeals to America's perception of female stardom. Depicted with thick lipstick and heavy eyeshadow against a bright red background, Liz is presented as a cultural commodity "packaged" for public consumption. Warhol creates icons that reflect society's worship of the evanescent gloss of material culture.