Warhol’s self portraits in Sheffield reveal man behind mask

Andy Warhol's self portrait exhibition at the Graves Art Gallery..Amy Dickson '.Managing Curator, Artists Rooms with one of the exhibits
Andy Warhol's self portrait exhibition at the Graves Art Gallery..Amy Dickson '.Managing Curator, Artists Rooms with one of the exhibits
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THIS is Andy Warhol – pop art legend and inspiration to millions – as rarely seen before.

The artist’s striking self portrait, called Fright Wig, is the focal point of a new exhibition being staged at Sheffield’s Graves Gallery.

Together with paintings, Polaroids and prints, it forms a unique collection of Warhol’s iconic self portraits later in life.

And they are in Sheffield thanks to renowned art dealer Anthony d’Offay, who was born in the city and worked closely with Warhol.

The 72-year-old, who co-curated and helped hang the exhibition, said: “It’s important this exhibition has come to Sheffield because this is the most famous artist in the world in the second half of the 20th century.

“This is a unique collection of self portraits and I would say there are some real masterpieces within them.”

The works were made between 1978 and 1986, after Warhol survived a shooting and before he died in 1987.

They are said to show how he contemplated his own death – in contrast to his most famous work which often focused on celebrity culture and advertising.

Mr d’Offay added: “I hope people who visit first of all take away the knowledge that they have seen something very remarkable.

“They will have seen more self portraits of Andy Warhol together than they could have unless they went to the Andy Warhol museum.

“He was very difficult to read, he was very shy. You always felt that you weren’t getting through to him as a real person because he had a sort of mask.”

Ambassadors, called Andy’s Superstars, from both Sheffield universities are using the collection to involve students with the gallery.

Members Laura Wood and Klaske Van Sluis said it would resonate with budding creatives.

Laura, aged 21, from Broomhill, Sheffield, added: “It is stunning. I think it will inspire people in Sheffield.”

Museums Sheffield’s chief executive Nick Dodd said the exhibition reaffirmed the gallery’s position as a ‘showcase for work from some of the UK’s finest collections’.

n Andy Warhol: Late Self Portraits has been taken from ARTIST ROOMS, a touring art collection donated to the nation by Mr d’Offay.

It opens on Wednesday, April 11, and runs until December. Entry is free.

Graves Gallery is open from 10am to 3pm Wednesday to Saturday.