This Mona Lisa is one of the earliest works for which Warhol employed silkscreening, the printing process that he adopted in 1962 to quickly and easily make multiple copies of preexisting images. Here, he revels in the act of duplication. By replicating a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting Mona Lisa (1503–6; Louvre) four times two different ways, the artist reduces a masterwork epitomizing traditional notions of artistic genius and authorship to a pale shadow of its former self. Warhol’s Mona Lisa was donated to The Met by his friend, Henry Geldzahler, the Museum’s founding curator of contemporary art. One year before Geldzahler made his gift, Warhol released the film Henry Geldzahler (see MMA 1999.45k), which consists solely of ninety-seven minutes of footage of the curator smoking a cigar.
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Artist:Andy Warhol (American, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1928–1987 New York)
Medium:Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas
Dimensions:44 × 29 in. (111.8 × 73.7 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Henry Geldzahler, 1965
Henry Geldzahler, New York (1963–65; gift of the artist; his gift to MMA)
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Art in the Mirror," November 22, 1966–February 5, 1967; travelled in U.S. through March 1968, brochure no. 38.
London. Hayward Gallery. "Pop Art Redefined," July 9–September 3, 1969, no. 67.
San Juan. El Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. "Arte del Siglo Veinte: EE.UU. del Museo Metropolitano de Arte," April 19–May 31, 1974, no. 27.
Williamstown, Mass. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. "The Dada/ Surrealist Heritage," May 3–June 12, 1977, no. 33.
Southampton, N. Y. Parrish Art Museum. "Twentieth Century American Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 25–December 31, 1977, no. 35.
Lawrence. Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. "Artists Look at Art," January 15–March 12, 1978, no. 39.
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. "La Peinture Américaine au 20e Siècle de la Collection du Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 28–August 23, 1978, no. 33 (as "La Joconde").
Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg. "Mona Lisa im 20. Jahrhundert," September 24–December 3, 1978.
Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. "Mona Lisa im 20. Jahrhundert," December 13, 1978–January 21, 1979.
Sydney. Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Pop Art, 1955–70," February 27–April 14, 1985.
Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "Pop Art, 1955–70," May 1–June 2, 1985.
Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "Pop Art, 1955–70," June 26–August 11, 1985.
Milwaukee Art Museum. "Warhol, Beuys, Polke," June 19–August 16, 1987.
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. "Warhol, Beuys, Polke," September 12–November 15, 1987.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Andy Warhol: A Retrospective," February 6–May 2, 1989.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Andy Warhol: A Retrospective," June 3–Aug 13, 1989.
London. Hayward Gallery. "Andy Warhol: A Retrospective," September 7–November 5, 1989.
Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Andy Warhol: A Retrospective," November 20, 1989–February 11, 1990.
Venice. Palazzo Grassi. "Andy Warhol: A Retrospective," February 25–May 27, 1990.
Paris. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou. "Andy Warhol: A Retrospective," June 19–September 9, 1990.
Washington, D. C. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. "Regarding Beauty: A View of the Late Twentieth Century," October 7, 1999–January 17, 2000, no. 86.
Haus der Kunst München. "Regarding Beauty: A View of the Late Twentieth Century," February 11–April 30, 2000, no. 86.
National Museum of Art, Osaka. "Mirrorical Returns: Marcel Duchamp and Twentieth Century Art," November 3–December 19, 2004, unnumbered cat. (pl. 122).
Yokohama Museum of Art. "Mirrorical Returns: Marcel Duchamp and Twentieth Century Art," January 5–March 21, 2005, unnumbered cat.
Oslo. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. "Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol," September 13–December 14, 2008, no. 5.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years," September 10–December 31, 2012, no. 11.
Pittsburgh. Andy Warhol Museum. "Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years," February 4–April 28, 2013, no. 11.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Making The Met, 1870–2020," August 29, 2020–January 3, 2021, unnumbered cat. (fig. 232).
G. R. Swenson inArt in the Mirror. Exh. brochure, Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1966, unpaginated, no. 38, dates it 1964.
Miles A. Smith. "What's Op? Pop Artists Kids Cliches." Berkshire Eagle (December 27, 1966), p. 4.
John Russell and Suzi Gablik. Pop Art Redefined. New York, 1969, no. 67, ill.
Andrew Causey. "Art: The Popular Image." Illustrated London News (July 26, 1969), p. 26, fig. 2.
John Coplans. Andy Warhol. [Greenwich, Conn.], , ill. p. 86, dates it 1965.
Richard Morphet. Warhol. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1971, p. 28, fig. 45, calls it "Four Mona Lisas".
Helen A. Harrison. Twentieth Century American Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Parrish Art Museum. Southampton, N. Y., 1977, p. 41, no. 35, ill.
Helen A. Harrison inLa Peinture Américaine au 20e Siècle de la Collection du Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. Brussels, 1978, unpaginated, no. 33, ill., reprints Ref. Harrison 1977.
Patrick S. Smith. Andy Warhol's Art and Films. Ann Arbor, 1986, p. 307 (Smith interview with Henry Geldzahler, November 17, 1978).
Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 9, The United States of America. New York, 1987, p. 154, colorpl. 116.
Carol Anne Mahsun. Pop Art and the Critics. Ann Arbor, 1987, pp. 90, 102, fig. 19.
Amei Wallach. "Fame Is." Newsday (February 23, 1987), p. 10.
Jeffrey F. Hamburger. The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany. New York, 1998, pp. 327–28, fig. 7.11.
Hugh J. Silverman. "Andy Warhol: Chiasmatic Visibility." Impossible Presence: Surface and Screen in the Photogenic Era. Ed. Terry Smith. Chicago, 2001, p. 204, fig. 7.5.
Georg Frei and Neil Printz, ed. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 1, Paintings and Sculpture 1961–1963. London, 2002, pp. 293, 300–01, no. 329, ill. p. 296 (color), calls it "Four Mona Lisas".
Mark Rosenthal inRegarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2012, pp. 109, 288, no. 11, ill. p. 108 (color).
Rebecca Lowery inRegarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2012, p. 254.
John J. Curley. A Conspiracy of Images: Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and the Art of the Cold War. New Haven, 2013, pp. 219–20, fig. 164, calls it "Four Mona Lisas".
Calvin Tomkins. "Onward and Upward with the Arts: The Met and the Now." New Yorker (January 25, 2016), pp. 32–33.
Max Hollein. Modern and Contemporary Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2019, ill. p. 113 (color).
Kelly Baum inMaking The Met, 1870–2020. Ed. Andrea Bayer with Laura D. Corey. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2020, pp. 216–27, 256, fig. 232 (color).
Jeff L. Rosenheim. Photography's Last Century: The Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2020, p. 169 n. 44.
Blake Gopnik. Warhol. 1st ed. New York, 2020, pp. 302–3.
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