Trinity House and artist Paul Stephenson present After Warhol, an exhibition of new paintings, which will be revealed this October, at our London gallery.
Made by one of Warhol’s master printers, using Warhol’s original acetates and the same pigments used during the artist’s life, the paintings in this exhibition are presented as a faithful, but posthumous body of work and accredited ‘After Warhol’.
The exhibition is a natural evolution for Stephenson, who is best known for his own painting practice – an ongoing exploration on the themes of authorship and the effect of external influences on artworks.
In 2010, Stephenson, who spent many years studying Warhol’s process and philosophy, purchased a collection of original acetates created by Warhol. Over the next four years he received confirmation of the acetates’ authenticity from the Andy Warhol Museum, Warhol’s master printer Alexander Heinrici, and the late Rainer Crone, one of Warhol’s closest confidents and the author of his first catalogue raisonné who, until his death in 2016, was widely recognised as the world’s foremost living authority on Warhol.
In parallel to his own painting work, Stephenson continued to explore Warhol’s practice. Inspired by the artist’s own words, and the widespread debate over the authentication of his work, he began to play with the idea of creating new pieces by the late artist, who famously did not print his own work, and was publicly very candid about his hands-off process, even naming his studio ‘The Factory’.
“I want other people to make my paintings… I think somebody should be able to do all my paintings for me. I think it would be so great if more people took up silk screens so that no one would know whether my picture was mine or somebody else’s.” – Andy Warhol
This led Stephenson to wonder, if the only part of Warhol’s process specifically attributable to the artist’s hand was the creation of the source acetates, which he now possessed, would new paintings made with these acetates, and created following Warhol’s mechanical reproduction process identically, be considered legitimate ‘Warhol’s’?”
The result of this exploration is the forthcoming exhibition ‘After Warhol’. Every painting is printed by Heinrici’s hand in New York, using the same, now incredibly rare, type of paint applied when Warhol was alive.
Before Rainer Crone passed away, Stephenson was able to show him some of the work. His reaction was one of delight,
“These are fantastic, they are in Warhol’s concept, in his tradition, (and for other people/us to make his paintings?), it is what he wanted.” Going further he confirmed, the legitimacy of the pieces, according to him. In my expertise (sic) opinion paintings made with these film positives under described circumstances and executed posthumously by professionals (scholars as well as printers) are authentic Andy Warhol paintings.” – Rainer Crone
Crone’s responses to the prints are documented in writing and in ‘The Business of Making Art’, a recent HBO documentary, which followed Stephenson on his journey towards making the work, and explores a litany of historical disputes around authentication. Stephenson himself has resisted accrediting the new prints to Andy Warhol, choosing instead to follow the precedents of other posthumous works, such as sculptures made after Rodin and Degas. He acknowledges that the debate over the work’s authenticity is bound to be lively and now invites the public to view the prints for themselves, and to join in the conversation.
“I like the idea of turning the art world upside down, I think Andy liked it too.” – Paul Stephenson