With the recent purchase of four famous Andy Warhol portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, it would seem like Buckingham Palace is getting pretty edgy. The four paintings, purchased by Britain's Royal Collection Trust, show a young tiara-clad Queen posing for an official portrait that was used during her Silver Jubilee celebration in 1977. It's screen-printed in monochrome with some color blocks and broken glass to make the crown really sparkle. The only problem, according to at least one art critic, is that these Warhol prints just aren't that special.
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Sure, four Warhols will definitely pop alongside the tawny oil paintings of the royal. But The Daily Telegraph's arts writer Florence Waters is quite unimpressed with the Royal Collection's decision to add these to its collection. "The portraits are actually a pretty conservative investment," Waters wrote on Monday. "Warhol dominates the contemporary art sales rooms like no other artist, so really these prints -- not one-offs, but part of a limited edition (estimated at £150,000 so on the cheaper scale for Warhol) -- show the Royal Collection exercising great caution in a new market."
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But they're hot pink and neon green! No big deal, says Royal Librarian Jane Roberts. "They join a collection dating back four, five, 600 years," Roberts said. "The fact that they are in a completely new technique is not surprising; things change." Roberts did say that Queen herself approved the purchase.
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Novel or not, we're sure people will line up when they go on show at Windsor Castle later this year. Now if only there were some way to make a painting of Madeleine Albright thrashing on the drums at the Kennedy Center…