Ladies and Gentlemen 126 by Andy Warhol is part of a larger series of works that were known as his “Drag Queen Paintings.” This work represents Warhol’s focus on portraying African-American and Hispanic transvestites that he found at the NYC nightclub in New York called The Gilded Grape. Warhol’s split of red and white on the drag queen’s face is symbolic of the union between male and female. In addition, Warhol demonstrates this hybrid by drawing feminine eye-makeup on the figure’s eyelashes while drawing a beard on quite a masculine squared jaw.
Ladies and Gentlemen 126 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
The Ladies and Gentlemen series is comprised of portraits of cross-dressers from a New York City nightclub called The Gilded Grape. Warhol took the cross-dressers’ portrait with a Polaroid Big Shot camera and then transferred the image onto silk screen. This was the same process he used on celebrities and other famous figures. Warhol told the cross-dressers to dress and pose however they wished. None of the subjects are famous but Warhol brings out the style and glamour in each portrait. The idea for the the Ladies and Gentlemen series came from a protegeé of art dealer Alexander Iolas named Anselmino. Anselmino had previously commissioned Warhol to do an edition of one hundred prints of Warhol’s Man Ray portrait. When Warhol went to Torino to sign the prints, Anselmino suggested he do a series of drag queens. Warhol took his advice and used models found at the The Gilded Grape on West 45th Street, frequented by Black and Hispanic transvestites.