Andy Warhol created Muhammad Ali 179 as part of a four part Muhammad Ali series of prints depicting the famous boxer. The prints use color and dimension as well as of Ali’s stoic nature to demonstrate the boxer’s supreme attentiveness during a fight. Muhammad Ali 179 depicts Ali in his profile, with a determined look on his face, juxtaposed by soft pink and turquoise accents, to show the conflict within Ali between his personal life and career as a boxer.
Muhammad Ali 179 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Andy Warhol created the Muhammad Ali portraits as part of the Athletes series that he created in the 1970s. Richard Weisman, who was both an art collector and a sports enthusiast, initiated the project, which includes athletes like soccer player Pelé and golfer Jack Nicklaus. Even though Warhol wasn’t a fan of sports himself, he did see an interest in the realm of an athlete’s celebrity and fame. Ali proved to be a difficult subject, as he was not the biggest fan of the camera. However, Warhol managed to snap a few photos of him during a marathon session. He took Polaroid shots of the athlete, which then turned into this series of screenprints.