During the 1970s Warhol realised that commissioned portraits could be extremely profitable. Alongside the rich and famous he completed portraits of politicians and heads of state, although these were more often commissioned by third parties than the sitters themselves. Willy Brandt was a German politician and Chancellor of West Germany. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for a policy to improve relations between the East and the West in Europe, his career came to an abrupt end in 1974 following revelations that a personal assistant was operating as a spy. This portrait shows Brandt on a vivid red background with contrasting swatches of lilac colour on his brow–line. His heavy, piercing gaze creates the impression that he is a man not to be messed with.