Warhol and Rubens: Picture Them as Peas in a Pod

Holland Cotter in the New York Times:

WarholslideLet’s be devils and call Andy Warhol the Rubens of American art. Why not? Everything Rubens did, Warhol did, and more: portraits, religious paintings, history paintings, still lifes, landscapes (well, cityscapes), mythological subjects (Marilyn, Liza, Mao) and scads of drawings. You will find some of all of this, along with films and photographs, in “Dia’s Andy: Through the Lens of Patronage,” a scrambled, surveyish exhibition here at Dia:Beacon that is more interesting than it probably should be.

Warhol, like Rubens, was an artist-entrepreneur. Chronically overbooked, he did a certain amount of work himself, but farmed out a lot to assistants, adding signature swipes as needed. Both were court painters ever alert for commissions, and statesmen in civic and social spheres. Rubens ran diplomatic missions for the great kings of Europe; Warhol interviewed disco queens at Studio 54.

Of course, there were personal differences. Rubens was a robust jock, very married, very straight; Andy (Dynel wigs; size 30 briefs; nickname: Drella) was not. Both were culturally erudite. Rubens had people read Virgil to him as he worked; Warhol played Maria Callas and the Supremes, nonstop and often simultaneously, in his studio. And both were notable communicators. Rubens spoke several languages fluently. Warhol spoke one, American English, sometimes fluently, sometimes not, depending on the company, and listened like crazy to everyone, gossip radar always on.

Rest of the article and a slide show here.