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 393 captures the brilliance of the composer by highlighting his sheet music in contrast to the dull colors of the background and the musician himself. The print is a pop art infusion on the image based off of a famous painting of Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler in 1820.
Beethoven 393 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Andy Warhol created the Beethoven portfolio 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.