Shades of Black

{Andy Warhol, Portrait of Conrad Black, 1982}

My favorite Warhol painting is not a can of Campbells soup, or silkscreens of Elvis.  It's a portrait of Conrad Black - or set of 4 to be exact.  Fiercely intelligent, ruthlessly ambitious, master of sagacious wordplay, and occasionally even self-deprecatingly funny (as seen here), Canadian expatriate Lord Black of Crossharbour was the 3rd largest newspaper magnate in the world until fraud charges saw his fall from grace and landed him in a US federal prison.  Despite his (alleged) legal transgressions, there's always been something I hugely admire about Conrad Black.  He's not just smart, he's clever and almost incomparably shrewd.  And he created his empire in print media, how could I not like him.  If I were a rich girl I would have one of his Warhols hanging in my home office.  And it would seem I'm not alone....the above portrait, auctioned by Christie's in 2007, made headlines after going to an anonymous private collector for considerably higher than its top estimate.  I love Black's expression in it, and the sense of naïve arrogance he projects as a young man.  One of the remaining three portraits can be seen in person at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the other two reside in private collections, one being CB's own.

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