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Warhol’s Silver Car Crash as a Decadent Double Disaster

silver car crash
By DMatthewDair

Famed pop artist Andy Warhol‘s Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) is the name given to a series of large-scale paintings Warhol created in 1963.

The paintings depict the twisted body of a car with a close-up of the open mouth of one of the victims and the other looking at the scene from a distance.

The painting series was Warhol’s reaction to seeing a frightening movie on television about a head-on collision between two cars. The drama and its mindless violence so took Warhol that he set out to recreate it in his art. 

Warhol created this painting while living in New York City, where he had begun his career as an artist. His style and subject matter were already heavily influenced by pop culture, including movies, magazines, and TV – and this series continued that trend. The paintings are known for their dramatic colors and contrasts: black and white versus bright colors, flatness against depth, and one perspective against another.

Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) at auction

Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) sold for so much money because it is a priceless work of art finding its way to an auction house at the right time. Renowned for capturing images of everyday people and turning them into pop culture icons, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) last sold for $105 million dollars. The macabre painting is worth more than any other print Warhol ever made.

An artists unique take on death foreshadows

This piece of art was innovative because he combined the images of death, film, and car crashes into stories about disasters. It is the first artwork to combine these three elements. Warhol’s painting and film explore the concept of death in art, and his work reflects a morbid fascination with desensitization to death and car crashes. The artwork shocks the viewer by combining these three elements into a crash scene in “harsh contrast” to the rest of Warhol’s work.

It’s juxtaposition with the decadent 1980’s, foreshadowed the excesses of designers like John Delorean taking cars from transportation to symbols of pop culture status.