Gems 189 is part of Andy Warhol’s Gems series. This portfolio of four showcases the individuality of each gem, through Warhol’s playful variation on traditional still life. Semi-precious gems, such as rubies and diamonds embody the idea of beauty and glamour that resonates with the rest of Warhol’s work. This image portrays a round cut emerald gem that Warhol heightens with hues of greens and blues. In his still life works in the 70s, Warhol began using hand drawn lines to emphasize the features of the object and its shadow. Gems 189 is a perfect example of this technique.
Gems 189 as Part of Andy Warhol’s Larger Body of Work
Warhol became a collector of jewelry after his success. He often wore elaborate pieces by Cartier or Harry Winston when he attended parties, which displayed his love for precious gemstones. The Gems prints, featuring emeralds and rubies were a series Warhol created later in life. The Gems series has an autobiographical dimension, in that Warhol had a secret love of feminine things, which he sometimes concealed by wearing his jewelry under his clothes, despite his wealth and celebrity. Warhol’s appreciation of all things decadent, comes across in this series and other works he did around the same time, including After The Party, 1979, Shoes, 1980, and Reigning Queens, 1985.