Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)\nWillie Shoemaker, 1978\nSynthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas\n40" x 40"\nStamped and authenticated by the Estate of Andy Warhol, numbered 'PO41.010' (on overlap)\nProvenance:\nEstate of the Artist, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.\nJane Holzer (Baby Jane)\nPrivate Collection\nSotheby's New York: "Contemporary Art: Part Two (Morning)"\n[Lot 119]: Thursday, November 15, 2001\nPrivate Collection, London: 2001-2005\nPrivate Collection, NY: 2005-present\nLiterature:\nSotheby's "Contemporary Art: Part Two (Morning)" [Lot 119] auction catalogue: New York: Thursday, November 15, 2001 Catalogue Raisonné, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. [Pending]\nIn 1977 Warhol began working on a series of portraits of athletes at the behest of Richard Wiseman, a well-known art collector and sports enthusiast. While the "athletes" series was a deviation from Warhol's previous subject matter, the theme that tied this group of portraits to many of his previous works remained fame. Warhol immortalized many iconic figures in "pop culture," including actors, musicians and political figures. The depiction of athletes was a natural progression and the fame that the athletes embodied was not lost on Warhol. He expressed this sentiment, saying: "I really got to love the athletes because they are the really big stars." The 10 athletes that constituted this series were Muhammad Ali, Pelé, Dorothy Hamill, Tom Seaver, Jack Nicklaus, O.J. Simpson, Chris Evert, Willie Shoemaker, Rod Gilbert, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.\nWarhol's portraits of pop icons have become highly prized works of art and continue to produce record auction prices; images of Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Marlon Brando, Elvis and others have sold for more than $30,000,000 since 2014, with a Triple Elvis (Ferus Type) leading the way, bringing an astonishing $81,925,000. The first portrait Warhol produced in the "athletes" series was that of Willie Shoemaker, a Pop icon in the racing world, to be sure. Willie Shoe is the Elvis of the turf.\nBorn August 19, 1931, in Fabens, Texas, William Lee Shoemaker became a giant in Thoroughbred racing despite his 2.5-pound beginning. Riding professionally from March 19, 1949, to February 3, 1990, "The Shoe" won 8,833 of 40,350 races, including 11 Triple Crown races. In 1958 at the age of 27, Shoemaker was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.\nAn excerpt from Warhol's published diary details his meeting of Shoemaker as follows:\nMonday, March 28, 1977Los Angeles\nAt 4:00 I went to Fred's room to photograph Willie Shoemaker the jockey. Richard Weisman commissioned me to do a series of athletes' portraits. Richard will keep some of the portraits and some will be for sale and the athletes will get to keep some. So Willie was the first athlete. Had to get some film (cab to Schwab's $3, film $15.30lost slip). Willie's wife called from the lobby and she came up with a girlfriendbut without Willie. He didn't show up till ten after 5:00 and when he saw her, he couldn't believe she was there. He'd been in court getting a divorce from her, that's why he was late.\nWillie's ex-wife of one hour was one of the tallest women I've ever seen. She was dressing Willie for the picture and he looked like an eight-year-old kid. And guess what he was wearing little jockey shorts! Ordered Martinis and the wife was drinking. She kept asking him for a date to celebrate the divorce and he kept turning her down, he said, "If I'd known that you were going to be here, I wouldn't have come."