Ludwig van Beethoven is regarded as one of the most famous composers of all time, so it is no surprise that Warhol, fascinated with fame of any kind, decided to create a portfolio of Beethoven portraits. In one of the most iconic poses of the famous composer, Beethoven 391 uses a muted palette for Beethoven’s portrait and the background, with pink accents in the music notes that are layered in front of the composer, drawing attention to the mastery of his music and insinuating that the person is often overlooked, as he is solely a vessel for his music.
Beethoven 391 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Warhol created this series in 1987, shortly before his death, as he began to choose subjects that weren’t typical of his previous style, and it is perhaps the suffering of Beethoven in contrast to his great posthumous fame that spoke to Warhol. The series particularly unique in that it contradicts the common perception that Warhol’s subject matter was limited to movie stars and grocery store items. The Beethoven complete portfolio consists of four screenprints, which features the same repeated image of Beethoven in different color variations, remains one of the most veritably dynamic series of Warhol’s collection.