Since Marilyn Monroe's tragic death caused by narcotics overdose in 1962, Andy Warhol begins to produce multiple works that have the actress as the main character. And the fact is that this pop art's master was so interested in showing in his works mass consumer products that he couldn’t miss the chance to show the actress as another product of the popular culture and this way created a speech about youth, evolution and death itself, as we can see on his first work about the actress "Marilyn diptych".
Works done by Warhol about Marilyn Monroe are based on the picture taken by Gene Korman for Niagara film reel. He did about 50 works based on that image, but in this article we’ll analyse the series of ten colour variations created with screen printing technique and known as the Marilyn series.
The original series, made up by 10 screen prints with the same image but with different colors, was created in 1976. Carried out on Aetna Silkscreen Products Inc.'s museum board, these were edited by the company Factory Additions. They have a size of 91 x 91 cm (36 x 36 inches) and belong to an edition of 250 copies, some of which were signed by the artist and others inscribed with his initials. In some of them the date was written, in some others wasn't. There were also 26 portfolios done that belonged to artist proofs, signed and inscribed from A to Z.
Without a doubt, this is the most valuable series of all that have been released, having been paid for one complete Marilyn portfolio up to 1.5 million dollars.
In 1970, a new suite is edited using this same image but with another 10 new color variations and with another dimensions of 84.4 x 84.5 cm. Screen prints that belong to this series include on the back the stamps "Published by Sunday B. Morning" and “Fill in your own signature” both printed with black ink.
These Sunday B. Morning screen prints were included in Andy Warhol’s catalogue raisonne by Feldman & Schellmann, which collects all the graphic works done by the artist from 1962 to 1987. Oddly enough Warhol himself signed a few of these copies with the sentence “This is not by me. Andy Warhol”.
A third suite, known as the “European Artist’s Proof Edition” was done in 1985, using the same Marilyn image and with Andy Warhol’s signature stamped in it. It is unknown how many copies were released.
The fourth set that has been printed of this 10 Marilyn suite belongs to Sunday B. Morning nowadays and it can be distinguished by the blue stamps on the back. These prints are done from reproductions of the serigraphic screens used by Andy Warhol back in 1967, using the same paper with the same size and high quality inks, which gives the work very vibrant colors.
Regarding this last Marilyn series, there have also been edited Sunday B. Morning portfolios of Flowers, Campbell’s Soup and Mao suites.
You can check out our Sunday B. Morning screen prints available: