Ladies and Gentlemen 127 by Andy Warhol derives from his interest in representing African-American and Hispanic transvestites that he found at the NYC nightclub in New York called The Gilded Grape. Warhol’s pencil shading and use of vibrant colors allow the viewer to identify the eccentric nature of the cross-dresser. While Warhol’s detailed sketch allows one to recognize the figure’s long feminine eyelashes and pouty lips, the color in the figure’s face outlines the masculine jawline and beard.
Ladies and Gentlemen 127 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.