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Andy Warhol, Ivan Karp, ca. 1975
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Acetate Ivan Karp, ca. 1975
Acetate negative acquired directly from Chromacomp, Inc. Andy Warhol's printer in the 1970s. Accompanied by a Letter of Provenance and Authenticity from the representative of Chromacomp
Accompanied by Letter of Provenance from the representative of Chromacomp, Andy Warhol's printer
15.5 x 12 inches
This unique photographic negative acetate is of the American art dealer, gallerist and author, Ivan Karp, protege of Leo Castelli who went on to found the famous gallery O.K. Harris - a SOHO staple throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Perhaps Karp was most famous for persuading Leo Castelli to represent Andy Warhol, as Castelli represented Roy Lichtenstein and didn't think there would be room for both artists. (Castelli also considered Lichtenstein the better artist, truth be told, and he connected better personally with Roy than with the enigmatic oddball Andy Warhol.)
Ivan Karp was born in the Bronx and grew up in Brooklyn. Karp's career in art began in 1955, when he served as the first art critic of the Village Voice. In 1956, he joined the Hansa Gallery, a downtown artists' cooperative gallery that had moved uptown to Central Park South. Karp was co-director, alongside Richard Bellamy, who later founded the Green Gallery. He moved to the relatively new Leo Castelli Gallery in 1959 as associate director. While there, he helped sell the works of, popularize and market the initial generation of Pop artists, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg. Karp worked with Castelli for ten years, leaving in 1969 to open the OK Harris Gallery in SoHo, Manhattan.
This acetate was brought by Warhol to Eunice and Jackson Lowell, owners of Chromacomp, a fine art printing studio in New York City. During the 1970s and 1980s, Chromacomp was the premier atelier for fine art limited edition silkscreen prints; indeed, Chromacomp was the largest studio producing fine art prints in the world for artists such as Andy Warhol, Leroy Neiman, Erte, Robert Natkin, Larry Zox, David Hockney and many more. All of the plates were done by hand and in some cases photographically. As a testament to the historical importance of this collection, we recently sold Andy Warhol's acetate of Conceptual Artist Joseph Kosuth (from this collection) -- to the artist Joseph Kosuth - himself, that of Baby Jane Holzer to the socialite herself, Jason McCoy to his family, and Tina Freeman to her representative. The Niarchos family also acquired the acetate of renowned Greek art patron and philanthropist Stavros Niarchos.
As Bob Colacello, former Editor in Chief of Interview Magazine (and right hand man to Andy Warhol) explained, "Many hands were involved in the rather mechanical silkscreening process... but only Andy in all the years I knew him, worked on the acetates." An acetate is a photographic negative transferred to a transparency, allowing an image to be magnified and projected onto a screen. As only Andy worked on the acetates, it was the last original step prior to the silkscreening of an image, and the most important element in Warhol's creative process for silkscreening.
Famed printer Alexander Heinrici worked for Eunice & Jackson Lowell at Chromacomp and brought Andy Warhol in as an account. Shortly after, Warhol or his workers brought in several boxes of photographs, paper and acetates and asked Jackson Lowell to use his equipment to enlarge certain images or portions of images. Warhol made comments and or changes and asked the Lowells to print some editions; others were printed elsewhere. Chromacomp ended up printing a number of Warhol silkscreens and, most notably, the iconic Mick Jagger series based on the box of photographic acetates, both positives and negatives. The Lowell's allowed the printer to be named as Alexander Heinrici rather than Chromacomp, since Heinrici was the one who brought the account in. Other images were never printed by Chromacomp - they were simply being considered by Warhol. After working with Chromacomp, Warhol left the remaining acetates, including this incredibly rare and highly collectible one of IVAN KARP with Eunice and Jackson Lowell. After the Lowells closed the shop, the photographs were packed away where they remained for more than a quarter of a century. Even in his lifetime, it is well documented that Warhol recognized the unique value of the acetates, as he would often exchange them for services with silkscreen shops. It measures approximately 15.5 inches by 12.5 inches. It is unevenly cut by Andy Warhol himself, exactly as he brought it to the Lowells. Buyer will receive a hand signed letter from the Lowell family representative confirming the work's authenticity and provenance. Many of the acetates from the Chromacomp collection have already been acquired by museums, galleries, dealers and collectors around the world, and most recently a selection of acetates was exhibited, alongside the silkscreens Warhol created from them, at a museum in Naples, Italy.
This work is unevenly cut by Andy Warhol, exactly as he brought it to the Lowells. There is also glue applied by Andy Warhol himself or his helpers, and perhaps natural age buckling.