Late last year some prints done by Andy Warhol for his friend Richard Weisman were stolen from the owner’s home. The actual Polaroids that Warhol took, which inspired the prints themselves went on display at Danziger Projects last year in an exhibit titled Greatness. They capture some really amazing sports stars like Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Pelé and O.J. Simpson. Here’s some more info:
“In 1977, Richard Weisman, an art collector and a friend of Warhol’s, commissioned a series of paintings of ten great sports figures of the era, now known as the “Athlete Series”. The group of athletes was selected by Mr. Weisman, and included stars of a variety of sports: Muhammad Ali (boxing), Pelé (soccer), Dorothy Hamill (figure skating), Tom Seaver (baseball), Jack Nicklaus (golf), O.J. Simpson (football), Chris Evert (tennis), Willie Shoemaker (horse racing), Rod Gilbert (ice hockey, NY Rangers), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (basketball).
Four additional sports portraits taken later are also included in the show – Ron Duguay, John McEnroe (with then-wife Tatum O’Neill), Vitas Gerulaitis, and Wayne Gretzky.
While Warhol may not have selected the ten athletes for the series, their status as champions in their respective sports, with faces and names that are recognizable decades later, coincides with Warhol’s interest in images of celebrity and greatness.
Taken with Warhol’s favored “Big Shot” Polaroid Camera, these images were used by Warhol to be silkscreened on to canvas as the basis of each painting.”