As part of the celebration for the National Gallery of Prague’s 220th anniversary, Andy Warhol photos can now be found in the Salm Palace.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts donated these photos, taken in the 1970s- 1980s, for the celebration; unfortunately, the photos did not arrive in time for the gala on February 5th, because of a blizzard in the United States. It was not until February 23rd that the works were finally put on display for the National Gallery’s new exhibit “Generosity. The Art of Giving.”
Warhol is most famous for his pop art silk-screens of celebrities and the Campbell’s soup cans. He also began taking photos after receiving his first camera at the age of nine. Throughout his life, Warhol took thousands of photos, and these can be seen as a personal documentation of his daily life.
In the Salm Palace, his work seems like it is hidden among the three-floor permanent exhibition of 18th – 19th century European Art from Classicism to Romanticism. Though after a bit of searching, you can see a collection of photos, including a group of nine polacolor-type-108 photographs of people in Warhol’s life and three framed pieces of silver-gelatin prints stitched together with thread. The pieces are not explicitly labeled as belonging to Warhol and even with the descriptions on a wall nearby, it is easy for someone to miss the works all together.
At first, the stylized difference make Warhol’s photographs seem ill-fitting among the extravagant paintings of Czech artist’s like Josef Mànes, but with some insight into his background, the artist’s work fits together. Warhol’s parents were born in what is now known as Slovakia, and he is highly celebrated and praised in this region of the world, including the Czech Republic. When asked where he was from in interviews he often answered different things or a cryptic “I come from nowhere,” disconnecting himself in part, to his cultural identity and family background. Nonetheless, it is Warhol’s ancestry that tie the artists in Salm Palace together and gives Warhol a place of belonging in The National Gallery in Prague.
The National Gallery in Prague was one of ten worldwide museums selected to receive Warhol’s last photos; two of the other museums being the prestigious British Tate Modern and the Stedeljik Museum in the Netherlands. For a limited time, admission tickets for 220 kc include a full year entrance to the main exhibition in the Kinsky Palace and the permanent exhibits in the National Gallery of Prague. Although there aren’t many of Warhol’s photographs in the National Gallery’s possession, these photographs still offer a unique glimpse into the artist’s mind.
Author: Michelle Edwards