Portraits were central to Warhol's work, as he was obsessed with fame and with icons. If someone wasn't already famous he could immortalise them in one of his unique and instantly recognisable portraits. He made a series of portraits of artists, including this one of German artist Joseph Beuys. Beuys was a contemporary of Andy Warhol. Both artists shared an understanding and mastery of the news media, although they used it in different ways. Beuys had an ambivalent attitude towards America, in contrast to Warhol's celebration of popular culture.