Revealing Andy Warhol's drawing of Andrew Carnegie


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Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish immigrant whose steelmaking empire made him the richest man in the world by the early 1900s, frequented the elegantly appointed rooms of Downtown's Duquesne Club.

Pittsburgh's other famous Andy -- the man who made art go Pop and captured celebrities on canvas -- created his own take on the bearded, white-haired industrialist in a red and purple silkscreen. That image is familiar to art lovers because it hangs in the Carnegie Museum of Art's cafe. Some readers know it because it adorns the cover of a 1989 Carnegie biography by Joseph Frazier Wall.

A drawing Warhol made of Carnegie, a kind of initial sketch for the vivid silkscreen, went on display in April at the Duquesne Club and will hang in the club's front hall through Sept. 10. It may go on display to the public at some point.

How Warhol wound up painting one of Pittsburgh's biggest benefactors will be among the subjects of a talk at 6:30 tonight by Eric Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum. Appearing before the Duquesne Club's Art Society in the Carnegie Room, Mr. Shiner will update his audience about the success of a Warhol exhibition that opened on April 28 in Shanghai, planned exhibitions for the museum's 20th anniversary year in 2014 and future renovations to the North Side museum. The talk is open only to club members.

Six years before Warhol's death in 1987, Jack Lane, curator of the Carnegie Museum of Art, met with Warhol at the Factory in New York City. On Aug. 25, 1981, Mr. Lane, along with art curator Gene Baro and philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife, commissioned Warhol to do a portrait of Carnegie, according to Matt Wrbican, the Warhol's chief archivist. Mr. Scaife paid for the silkscreen and donated it to the museum. The vivid image of Carnegie was installed at the museum just before Oct. 22, 1981, Founder's Day.

Martin McGuinn, who chairs the museum of art's board, bought the drawing that's hanging at the Duquesne Club during a visit three years ago to the Andy Warhol Foundation in Manhattan. He has been interested in Warhol's work for more than 20 years.

"We wanted to have something by Warhol and the paintings were kind of out of our budget. I went to the Warhol Foundation in New York and spent about two hours looking at various drawings," Mr. McGuinn recalled.

"The one of Carnegie really appealed for obvious reasons. It seemed to be the perfect Pittsburgh combination. I was told by the Warhol Foundation that there are only about four drawings of Andrew Carnegie by Andy Warhol. We think they were done as studies for the Andy on Andy silkscreen."

His wife, Ann McGuinn, chaired the committee that organized a weekend's worth of festivities to celebrate the opening of The Andy Warhol Museum here in May 1994. Mrs. McGuinn, who serves on the Warhol museum's board, has been involved with it for the past 19 years. About 10 years ago, her husband gave her a Warhol silkscreen of actress Greta Garbo for Christmas. Warhol's drawing of Carnegie is part of the couple's private art collection.

"Any time you have art that is good art and you share it, it intrigues people into thinking about buying art or coming to the museums. That, to me, is all positive," Mr. McGuinn said.

He believes the Duquesne Club's art program encourages other club members to lend from their collections so more people can learn about a particular artist.

While Carnegie and his success story are timeless, there is probably no better year to exhibit his portrait. A less colorful version of that vivid Carnegie silkscreen will be exhibited this fall in Scotland when that country opens 16 weeks of activities called "Andrew Carnegie's International Legacy: Shaping the Future."

The festivities begin in Holyrood, Scotland, in October with a traveling show called "Andy Warhol: Pop, Power and Politics." The exhibition, which opens Oct. 4 and closes Nov. 3, features screen prints about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and a portrait of Andrew Carnegie by Andy Warhol.

The celebration is being organized by the Carnegie UK Trust and the Scottish Parliament. Most of the artwork for the show is being lent by The Andy Warhol Museum. The McGuinns will travel to Scotland for the festivities and will lend their drawing for the traveling exhibition, too.

Scotland's Parliament is honoring Carnegie because of his philanthropic legacy. By 1911, Carnegie had endowed five charitable organizations in the U.S. and three in the United Kingdom. Pittsburgh continues to benefit from that generosity. Last year, the Carnegie Corp. of New York gave a $1 million grant to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh to upgrade its technology.

artarchitecture

Marylynne Pitz: mpitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1648.


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