At a four-for-a-quarter Photomat in a pinball arcade at 52nd and Broadway, Andy Warhol instructed art collector Ethel Scull, "Now start smiling and talking, this is costing me money." She proceeded, with and without her large round sunglasses, to look sultry and silly, exhilarated and somber, until the machine had generated more than twenty-four strips, each with four frames of finished photographs.
Warhol's 1963 multipanel portrayal of Scull, Ethel Scull Thirty-six Times,is among the best known of his early Pop portraits. The grid of thirty-six silkscreen-on-canvas panels, each 20 x 16 inches, was one of his first commissioned portraits and the second painted portrait based on the photobooth images.
Ethel Scull and her husband Robert became identified with Pop Art through their patronage of and generous hospitality toward the artists of "the latest thing." They were newly rich and, in the art world at least, suddenly famous, making Ethel an ideal subject for Warhol and a superstar in her own way. As she herself described the sixties, "My life had all the glamour and glitter of a Hollywood starlet's."