Andy Warhol’s portrait of Mick Jagger is as iconic as the two artists were themselves. Since Ackerman’s Fine Art is now offering one of these portraits, we thought you might enjoy learning more about the relationship Andy and Mick had with each other.
How Warhol Met Jagger
Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger met at a party in 1964, when the Rolling Stones were on their first US tour. At this time, both were rising to fame and establishing their image. The Rolling Stones were viewed as the dirty alternative to the clean-cut Beatles and art collectors may have viewed Andy Warhol in a similar way compared to other artists of the time, such as Wayne Thiebaud, Japer Johns and Tom Wesselmann.
The artists’ first collaboration was for the Sticky Fingers album cover, in the 1971. Mick Jagger described Warhol as nothing more than a voyeur in a tour documentary in 1972, but admiration grew over the years. Both Warhol and Jagger realized that the other could help build their image. Their relationship and collaborations over the years was partly a business arrangement with lavish rock-star parties.
Origin of the Mick Jagger Portraits
Andy Warhol created a series of 10 portraits of Mick Jagger in 1975, when prompted by the Seabird Editions Company in London who offered to publish the screen prints. That summer, while Mick and his wife, Bianca where staying at Andy’s house in Mautauk, Andy took the photographs of Mick himself. The photographs were all head and bare-chested torso shots of Jagger. Andy wanted to capture different emotions and personas of Mick; happy, thoughtful, seductive, tough, arrogant, etc. The portrait available at Ackerman’s Fine Art, Warhol exaggerated the lower lip and used a purple color patch over one eye to suggest it was bruised. This is meant to project a mood of starry, stupefied menace in Mick Jagger.
Back in the studio, Andy created the screen prints from the photographs and added hand drawn stylized lines and color patches to enhance the mood of each piece. Both Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger signed the final prints as a savvy marketing ploy. Jagger’s audience was much larger than Warhol’s collector base, so having Mick’s signature would help increase exposure of his work. For Mick, the portraits would help enhance his image.
Warhol’s Portraits and the Art Market
Portraits were big business for Andy Warhol in the 70’s. Celebrities and others could pay $25,000 to have their portrait done and get an amazing experience out of the process. When Andy Warhol died, Mick said “The thing that he seemed to be able to do was to capture society, whatever part of it he wanted to portray, pretty accurately. That’s one of the things artists do, is show people later on what it was like. If you want to be reminded of a certain period, you can look at what Andy was doing then. He was very much in tune with what was going on. Of course, he was criticized for that, for being sort of trendy. But I think some people’s great forte is being so in touch.”
Jagger embodied the sex, drugs and rock and roll world that Warhol was fascinated with. Andy Warhol saw himself as a modern day portrait painter capturing the noblemen and royals of our time. Mick Jagger could not have been a better subject for that purpose. Visit the Ackerman’s Fine Art website to see the Andy Warhol / Mick Jagger portrait.