Mick Jagger 140 by Andy Warhol is one of ten unique prints in Warhol’s iconic Mick Jagger portfolio. Created in 1975, this exceptional collection symbolizes Warhol’s turn to some non-representational techniques, such as the abstract blocks and scribbles. The prints feature Warhol’s signature in pencil and most have Jagger’s signature in felt pen as well. Each print in the portfolio uses Warhol’s distinctive collage-like style to emphasize different features of the subject. Similarly, Warhol added pencil detailing, which contributes to the mixed-media style.
Warhol and Mick Jagger met in the early 1960s and remained friends until Warhol’s death in 1987. Warhol had a close relationship with the rockstar, as well as his wife, Bianca. He often babysat their daughter, Jade, and even taught her how to paint. This collection of 10 prints is a perfect representation of the close relationship between Warhol and the Jagger family.
Aside from Warhol’s Mick Jagger series, he also designed an album cover for The Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger sent a letter to Warhol asking him to design a cover, giving him total creative freedom. However, his only request was to avoid “complex designs which could cause delays in releasing the record.” Warhol unsurprisingly neglected this advice and created a controversial close-up image of a man’s crotch with tight jeans. Early editions included a working zipper on the cover. This erotic cover was a daring but suitable fit for the rock stars’ sex symbol status.
This series is yet another reflection of Warhol’s enthrallment with celebrities and fame. Warhol often immersed himself in the celebrity lifestyle by hosting eccentric parties at The Factory. Many celebrities commonly appeared at his parties, including his infamous band of “superstars.” Warhol took advantage of these gatherings to engage with celebrities and gather inspiration for his art. While ruminating on his fantastic parties, Warhol admits: “I’ve always been fascinated by the assumptions that rich kids make. A lot of them think it’s normal, the way they live – because it’s all they’ve ever known. I love to watch their minds operate.”
Warhol created portraits of many well-known figures, from Albert Einstein to Muhammad Ali, and of course the infamous Marilyn Monroe. Accordingly, Warhol portrayed musicians besides Mick Jagger. Double Elvis and Triple Elvis are amongst his most valuable paintings of all time, and he created portrait designs for albums by Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, and Diana Ross. Warhol surely left his mark on the world of music.
In almost all of Warhol’s celebrity portfolios, he uses the theme of repetition to emphasize the constant attention celebrities receive in the media, and the way their personalities are mass-marketed. The Mick Jagger portfolio from 1975 is no exception, although he did use different photographs for each image. This particular print slices the rock star in half, dividing his face between the photographed version and a pen-sketched drawing of his face. The light green background contrasts with the abstract pink slashes on the image, making for a classic pop-art portrait. Finally, Warhol adds extra detailing and linework to the left eye, nose, and lips. Ultimately, Mick Jagger 140 is one of the most delicately composed portraits from the series.