01.Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (1985): Andy Warhol
Location: citizenM Tower of London
Andy Warhol needs little introduction. He’s the Pop Art pioneer that brought us some of the twentieth century’s most iconic images: the Marilyn Diptych (1962), Self Portrait (1986) and, of course, Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962). Across prints, photos, films and books he explored the celebrity culture, advertising and artistic expression as each flourished in the 1960s. Today, his works accounts for some of the most expensive paintings ever sold: ‘Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)’ (1963) raked in an eye-watering $105million.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was one of Warhol’s final works before he died in 1987. It was part of a ‘Reigning Queens’ series, depicting female monarchs – Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Queen Ntombi Twala of Swaziland and Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom – born as queens in their own right, rather than those married to a king. The glamorous, neon-streaked Beatrix looks more like she belongs in Studio 54 than the lofty regal realms. Indeed, in a stroke of egalitarianism, the series title ‘Reigning Queens’ cleverly played on Warhol’s earlier series, ‘Drag Queens’ as well as referencing the popular eighties song ‘It’s Raining Men’. God bless mother nature.