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Warhol & Dali – Brilliant Artists or Sinister Opportunist

Warhol’s first “Selfie”, as it’s being dubbed, has just sold for £6million (RO3m) at Sotheby’s while Dali is having his body exhumed over a parental DNA extraction legal battle won by his self-proclaimed daughter, 60-year-old Pillar Abel.

To me, the two artists are linked not only by their financial success within their lifetimes but also for using their eccentricity and aloofness to gain notoriety while building successful brands that used the technique of reproduction to its full potential.

Dali used sculpture moulds that could reproduce sculptures and furniture. Warhol used stencils and screen printing to produce repeated patterns – multiple Marilyn Monroe images or the famous Campbell’s Soup were among the successful outcomes.

They both understood that their personalities and celebrity clientele, rather than the quality of their art, would “show them the money”. Both surrounded themselves with celebrities, painted for celebrities and used them for their own exposure.

Both manipulated admirers with their distinctive looks; the upturned moustache and sequin blazers (in later years) of Dali, and the silver hair and thick spectacles of Warhol have ensured they will both be immortalised.

To me, they had a three-step approach; get the look, get the famous elite, and make moulds and stencils to reproduce art with minimum effort. So it begs the question: were they creative geniuses or masters in manipulating patrons to ensure the millions kept coming?

Either way, I say bravo!


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