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Andy Warhol paints Wayne Gretzky

The Story

It's a rare confluence of sport and art, and Radio Canada International is there to tell the world about it: hockey hero Wayne Gretzky depicted by pop artist Andy Warhol. Six of Warhol's striking signature portraits of Gretzky, in uniform with a stick, are on display at a New York City gallery, and both Warhol and Gretzky are there for the show's opening. Gretzky says he's pleased he gets to keep a painting. "I'm going to show it off to everybody that comes into my house." Warhol, too, enjoyed working with the star of the Edmonton Oilers. "He's more than a hockey player, he's an entertainer," says Warhol. "An entertaining hockey player." Gretzky is the first hockey player Warhol has painted, and the two met at the behest of a group of investors gathered by Vancouver art dealer Frans Wynans. "These are very good paintings... they're very, very excellent," says Wynans, who's selling them for a cool $35,000 each. 

Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News
Broadcast Date: Dec. 12, 1983
Guest(s): Wayne Gretzky, Andy Warhol, Franz Wynans
Reporter: Matthew Flamm
Duration: 3:12

Did You know?

• Wayne Gretzky and Andy Warhol met for the portrait session in Warhol's New York studio in 1983. According to Sports Illustrated, Gretzky was unfazed by Warhol's professed devotion to the New York Rangers.
• Gretzky was disappointed there wasn't a hockey stick around, so Frans Wynans, who attended the session, went to a sporting goods shop across the street for one.

• After Warhol's death in 1987, the Gretzky paintings (like all of his art) appreciated in value. The six Gretzky paintings were suddenly worth at least $100,000 each and the silkscreens - originally selling for $2,000, as mentioned in this clip - were worth $6,000.
• According to Sports Illustrated, Gretzky hung his portrait in the dining room of his Edmonton home, not the living room as he promised in the clip.


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