detail from Statue of Liberty (1962) by Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol in 3-D

Why is Christie's giving away 3-D glasses to view Warhol's work at its New York sale this Wednesday?

When Christie's New York informs the press that it will be giving away 3-D glasses with its catalogs at a forthcoming sale, you might pause to wonder whether the venerable auction house is being a bit over-keen in its attempts to generate bidder interest.

However, on further inspection Christie's is, in fact, doing justice to a remarkable Warhol canvas - one of only three works that the seminal pop artist screen-printed in three dimensions - when its brough to auction on November 14.

As the accompanying catalogue - also printed in 3-D - explains, Warhol's 1962 work, Statue of Liberty, was produced by repeatedly screen printing a picture postcard image of the New York landmark in both red and green paints. The work, once viewed through old-style anaglyph glasses, pops off the canvas. Though Warhol didn't adopt this method, popular in cinema and comics of the time, in any widespread way, he did produce two similar: another version of the statue as well as Optical Car Crash, all produced in '62.

Visual tricks aside, Statue of Liberty (1962) remains an important work in Warhol's canon. Quoting from Phaidon's very own catalogue raisonne, the Christie's catalogue explains 'Statue of Liberty stands as the launch pad for one of the artist's most important series - the Death and Disaster paintings.'

This bronze embodiment of freedom and independence seems like an odd image to include alongside Warhol's famous series of electric chairs and traffic accident paintings, yet, as the catalogue makes plain, the statue has its dark side, in the failure of many immigrants' dreams.

The catalogue also offers a good overview of the statue's place within American culture, as well as some wonderful archive images of Warhol and co. To view the online version, stick on your red and green specs and click here. For more on the great pop artist, consider our wide selection of Warhol books.