Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas in artist's frame.
2 3/16 x 1 13/16 in. (5.6 x 4.6cm)
with frame: 2 5/16 x 1 15/16 x 3/8 in. (5.9 x 4.9 x 1cm)
Sold for $10,710
Estimated at $10,000 - $15,000
From the Collection of Janet W. Solinger.
Richard Pettibone gained fame in the 1960s for creating miniature versions of larger works by major contemporary artists, including Frank Stella, Ed Ruscha, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and, as in the present work, Andy Warhol. At this time, Pettibone focused particularly on artists who worked in series or reproduction themselves, offering a fresh perspective and element of humor to familiar images. Indeed, there was perhaps no other artist before or since, quite so well known for repetition than Pop Artist icon, Andy Warhol.
Warhol himself created almost countless paintings and prints of Marilyn Monroe through his own reductive process of silkscreening. Notions of fame, glamour, omnipresent imagery, and repetition were all alluring to the artist. Warhol returned to these themes and favorite subjects again and again shifting the screens, changing the colors and scale. By shrinking Warhol’s iconic image down to such an intimate scale, Pettibone renders offers a fresh look at Marilyn, one that is yet another generation removed from the person herself. Here, the shadows in her lips have become nearly a whimsical moustache, and her skin tone has darkened such that is disappears into a silhouette of black and bright red hair. Smudges in black throughout insist upon the still-present reminder of the image’s origins in print.
Pettibone’s work blurs the distinction between original and copy, challenging our notions of artistic inspiration and originality. And yet, insightfully, Roberta Smith has described Pettibone's process as having "formal rigor, the personalizing effects of scale and touch, faith in materials as carriers of artistic meaning and, above all, hard-nosed, even hypercritical reverence." 
 Roberta Smith, "Imitations That Transcend Flattery," New York Times, July 15, 2005.