Andy Warhol created Muhammad Ali 181 as part of a four part 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 181 shows only a portion of Ali, focusing on his clenched fist held closely in front of his chest. Warhol emphasizes the strength of Ali’s grip with a red blotch layered over his hand, bringing attention to the fist with a contrasting bright blue background.
Muhammad Ali 181 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Andy Warhol created the Muhammad Ali portraits as part of the Athletes series 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, but 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.