Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Fine Art

Andy Warhol Flower Series, 1970

Warhol Flowers
Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.64)

Andy Warhol Flowers series originally debuted in 1964 as a set of paintings. Rather than incorporating images from pop culture and mass media, he found the original photo for this series in a magazine titled Modern Photography. The original photographer was Patricia Caulfield. Warhol first exhibited these works as part of his first show at the Leo Castelli Gallery.  For the most part, Warhol stuck to the square canvas. Initially, Warhol only painted on 48 and 24-inch canvases. However, for a later gallery show, he included additional canvases of 14, 8 and 5-inch squares. To create these works, Warhol manipulated the color of the flowers to become much more vibrant against a dynamic background. The image was also cropped to fit into the perfect squares canvases, ensuring the paintings can be viewed from any angle. The appearance of the flowers has drawn comparisons to Matisse’s cutouts and Van Gogh’s colorful bouquets.

Historical and Symbolic Importance

Without a doubt, Warhol’s decision to illustrate still-life is filled with symbolic and historical significance. The first Flowers portfolio coincided with Warhol’s Disaster series, and followed his Thirteen Most Wanted Men series. To provide context, the Disaster Series featured silkscreen paintings of Jackie Kennedy after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Thirteen Most Wanted Men was a controversial series of portraits showing the faces of real criminals.

Compared to these two series, the abrupt change to colorful still-life creates an interesting juxtaposition between tragedy and celebration. In every way, the Flowers portfolio creates a relevant connection to the two aforementioned series. Flowers are a symbol of fragility and purity, two concepts which stand at opposing ends with the violence associated with the criminals of the Thirteen Most Wanted Men.  Furthermore, flowers can also a funerary symbol relevant to the assassination of President Kennedy.

It is also suggested that the series gave rise to the term “flower power:” a term which was used in the 1960’s regarding the non-violence movement. Supporters often wore clothing with embroidered flowers in vibrant colors, and distributed flowers to the public. Certainly, the psychedelic color of Warhol’s Flowers is easily seen as a dedication to the movement. Of this, Warhol’s longtime assistant has said, “when Warhol and that whole scene made Flowers, it reflected the urban, dark, death side of that whole (Flower Power) movement. And as decorative art, it’s pretty dense. There is a lot of depth in there.” As always, Warhol carefully reveals there is more than meets the eye even with familiar imagery.

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.64)

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.64)

andy warhol flowers 1970 FS II 65, with yellow red and pink flowers

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.65)

andy warhol flowers 1970 fs 66 with red pink and yellow flowers

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.66)

andy warhol flowers (F&S.II.67) in purple orange yellow with green background

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.67)

andy warhol flowers fs 68 in pink and yellow with green background

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.68)

Flowers, 1970 Screenprints

Warhol reproduced the well-known imagery as a portfolio of ten screen prints on paper called the Warhol Flowers screenprint series. The seriality of the prints mirrors the visual effect of a real-life bouquet. Furthermore, the flowers appear even more flattened in the print medium. This flatness allows the flowers to seem childlike, no longer a realistic representation of nature. Each print varies slightly, from the colors of the hibiscus to the shading in the background. In this way, Warhol allows viewers to engage in multiple ways with a single image.

andy warhol flowers 1970 fs 69 orange blue pink flowers against orange background

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.69)

andy warhol flowers 1970 fs 70 blue yellow orange flowers with pink background

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.70)

andy warhol flowers 1970 yellow pink and purple flowers fs 71

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.71)

andy warhol(F&S.II.72) yellow flowers with green background

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.72)

andy warhol flowers (F&S.II.73) pink yellow purple flowers with green background

Andy Warhol Flowers, 1970, Screenprint on Paper (F&S.II.73)

You have reached the end of the best results we have for you.

© Masterworks Fine Art Gallery. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Our gallery is located in the beautiful Oakland Hills of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA.