Strictly Embargoed until 9:00am Thursday May 10, 2012
First Public Exhibition of recently discovered Andy Warhol
Avon and Somerset Police and The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol are delighted to announce the first public showing of Andy Warhol‟s „Rudy Vallee‟ portrait. Believed to be by internally-renowned pop artist Andy Warhol, the recently discovered portrait of American singer Rudy Vallée is thought to have been made by the artist while he was bed-ridden, ill with chorea at the age of 11. The pencil portrait is drawn on a (now tattered) piece of paper and is full of the pop art motifs we have now come to recognise, including Warhol‟s signature bright red lips, made using lipstick, and a typically pop art blocked background, coloured with green and orange felt-tip pen. Whilst still child-like in many respects, the portrait demonstrates the early stages of flourishing artistic aptitude and the seminal elements of what would, twenty years down the line, become the basis of a hugely successful new artistic movement and Warhol‟s unmistakable pop art style. Director of the RWA, Trystan Hawkins said: “Warhol‟s work is known the world over, and represents a seismic shift in the history of art. With the benefit of hindsight, viewing this portrait allows us to see the beginnings of one of the greatest art movements. “The opportunity to show Warhol‟s earliest work at the RWA is a world first, and we thank Andy Fields (owner of the portrait) for giving us this chance to make it possible for the public to come and see a Warhol in Bristol.” Newly framed by Bristol-based company, Niche Frames, the piece will be on display as part of Avon and Somerset Constabulary‟s Clean Slate Art Competition exhibition. The show will include 36 pieces by young people aged 13 – 19 from across Avon and Somerset, selected from five district exhibitions by a panel of judges. The exhibitions form part of an art competition run by Avon and Somerset Police as part of their ongoing youth engagement work.
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Chief Constable Colin Port said: “I am delighted that the Rudy Vallée portrait will make its public debut within our Clean Slate exhibition. “Young people are our future and I am keen to seize any opportunity that helps us (the police) continue to strengthen our relationship with them and allows them to promote and develop their talents. “I hope the opportunity to be able to exhibit their work in a wonderful gallery such as the RWA alongside a piece by Andy Warhol will act as inspiration and encourage them to explore and celebrate their talent and potential. “I am enormously grateful to both the RWA - for supporting our project, and to Andy Fields for allowing us to include the portrait in the exhibition.” Valued at $2 million (£1.25 million), English owner Andy Fields bought the piece unknowingly for just $5 (£3) at a garage sale in Las Vegas that included property from Edith Smith, Warhol‟s former carer. Mr Fields discovered the sketch inside a framed drawing of William Boyd as Hopalong Cassidy by Gertrude Stein – a Pittsburgh-born artist and writer who was painted by Warhol in later life. He said: “I have had the picture for the past two years but it was only when the newspapers and the TV media frenzy started that it truly began to dawn on me that I had indeed found the Holy Grail of pictures – the earliest known example of Andy Warhol pop art. It still gives me shivers. “I am delighted the piece is finally going on public display and that it will be shown for the first time in the South West. It is an honour for me to have such a great art gallery as the RWA looking after my picture. “I am also thrilled that it will be included in Avon and Somerset Constabulary‟s Clean Slate exhibition. Having been done by Warhol as a young boy, it seems fitting for it to been shown in an environment that is celebrating the work of young people and just goes to show what you can go on to achieve. “I am sure that Warhol would have been delighted to know that a sketch he most likely did whilst ill in bed, would go on to act as inspiration for another generation of young people years after his death.” The Clean Slate exhibition opens at the RWA in the Stancomb-Wills Gallery on July 3 – 28, 2012.
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Anyone wishing to enter the Clean Slate competition for the chance to exhibit their work alongside Warhol‟s Rudy Vallée portrait can log on to www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/cleanslate to download an application form. The closing date for applications is May 18, 2012. END
The media are invited to attend a press call at the RWA on Thursday May 10, at 11:00 In attendance will be Trystan Hawkins - Director of the RWA, Chief Constable Colin Port - Avon and Somerset Police, and Andy Fields - owner of The Rudy Vallee Portrait. Statements will be made by the above before a short Q&A session. Press packs will be provided. Please RSVP and confirm attendance with Miriam Brown before 9:00am on May 10, 2012.
Contacts: Avon and Somerset Police/Clean Slate Miriam Brown – Media Relations Officer Miriam.email@example.com Tel: 07774 966483 RWA Lottie Storey - Marketing Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0117 906 7604
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Notes for editors:
Please note a high-res‟ jpeg of the portrait is available upon request. Or you can look at it on: www.andyfields.co.uk/rwa/pictures/andywarhol.JPG The picture is 350 x 250mm Any media wishing to attend the Clean Slate press night can do so by contacting Miriam Brown to request an invitation. The framers are: Niche Frames Jane and Peter Brewerton 26 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QD 0117 942 2213 www.nicheframes.co.uk Please note that the picture will NOT be framed at the shop nor ever be housed, stored or onsite at the shop‟s Stokes Croft address. Please ensure that any reporting mentioning Niche, does not allude to the shop having possession at any time.
About Clean Slate/Avon and Somerset Police: Avon and Somerset Constabulary police an area of 1855 square miles. With a population of 1,623,200 and 687,715 households the force covers the cities of Bristol, Bath and Wells as well as the more rural areas of Somerset and South Gloucestershire and coastal resorts of Weston-Super-Mare, Burnham-on-Sea, Brean and Minehead. Following the success of their youth, music competition “Live and Unsigned”, the force is running Clean Slate for 2012 as part of their extensive youth engagement strategy. The Clean Slate Art Competition is open to young people between the ages of 13 – 19 who live, work or are educated in the force area. It will include three categories - 2D, 3D and Digitally Generated Art, split in to two age brackets - 13 - 15 and 16 - 19. Entrants submit a paper application prior to submitting their artwork to one of the five exhibitions across the force area.
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Further information, terms and conditions and the application form can be found on www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/cleanslate
About Andy Fields: An Entrepreneur, Mr Fields has a range of businesses including a multinational online advertising sales group and nutrition company. Fields owns 148 wildlife paintings and plays professional Poker under the pseudonym “Ice Diamond.”
About the RWA: The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) is one of only five Royal academies of art in the UK with HM Queen Elizabeth II as its patron and HRH The Prince of Wales is an honorary academician. It is an established venue for the fine arts and embraces an artistic awareness of the widest nature. As a registered charity, it has been self-supporting for over 150 years and possesses an outstanding Grade II* listed building, galleries and permanent fine art collection. Situated in the academic heart of Bristol at the Clifton Triangle, opposite the Victoria Rooms, the gallery‟s exhibition programme provides a showcase for one-person and mixed exhibitions in a variety of media, which attract large numbers of visitors nationwide. The five upstairs galleries – Sharples, Winterstoke, Stancomb-Wills, Methuen, and Milner - host the main exhibition/s. A new gallery is being planned for the basement level, for completion Summer 2012.
Monday to Saturday - 9.30am - 5.30pm Sunday - 11 - 5pm Last admission half an hour before closing All gallery spaces are available for private hire for special events, such as weddings and parties, conferences and meetings. If members of the media would like a tour, please contact Lottie as above. The downstairs area has a shop and a Papadeli café.
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