Andy Warhol, Howdy Doody, from the Myths Series, 1981

Artist: Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987)
Title:Howdy Doody, from the Myths Series, 1981
Reference:FS IIB.263
Series:Myths Series, 1981
Medium:Color Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board.
Image Size:38 in x 38 in (96.3 cm x 96.3 cm)
Sheet Size:38 in x 38 in (96.3 cm x 96.3 cm)
Framed Size:43 in x 43 in (109.2 cm x 109.2 cm)
Edition:This work is numbered from the edition of 200 in pencil on verso; published by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., New York; printed by Rupert Jasen Smith, New York.
Signature:This work is hand signed by Andy Warhol (Pennsylvania, 1928 - New York, 1987) in pencil in the lower left.
Condition:This work is in excellent condition.
ID #W-8147
Price on Request


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Historical Description

Andy Warhols’s Howdy Doody, from the Myths Series, 1981 is a color screenprint that is part of the 1981 Myth series, showing a young boy with comical features and bold colors. The Myth series is a collection of ten figures from fiction, history, literature, and film that are meant to embody 20th-century Pop Culture. Each character from this series is implied to reveal different aspects of Warhol’s personality. Howdy Doody  is in reference to The Howdy Doody Show, a children’s program that aired from 1947-1960.

The exaggerated mouth, nose, and cheeks play are essential to creating the recognizable commercial icons this series consists of. Warhol places the boy on a dark gray background to highlight the primary colors seen in his bandana, checkered flannel, and gloves. His comical look and lifted arm are a reference to his marionette role in The Howdy Doody TV show. Through multiple media playings, he had gathered large amounts of popularity and icon status. 

This piece is inlaid with diamond dust, creating a more three dimensional appearance to this screenprint.

Created in 1981, this color screenprint on Lenox Museum Board is hand signed by Andy Warhol (Pennsylvania, 1928 - New York, 1987) in pencil ion verso and  is numbered from the edition of 200 in pencil on verso; published by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., New York; printed by Rupert Jasen Smith, New York.

This screenprint is part of a portfolio of 10 works Warhol created in 1981 titled Andy Warhol Myths and are each illustrated and referenced in the catalogue raisonne. The artworks in the Series include Superman FS 260, Mickey Mouse FS 265, Santa Claus FS 266, The Shadow FS 267, The Star FS 258, Uncle Sam FS 259, The Witch FS 261, Dracula FS 264, Howdy Doody FS 263, Mammy FS 262.

Andy Warhol Myths 1981:
Andy Warhol's "Myth" series, created in the 1980s, marked a significant departure from his earlier works and reflected his fascination with celebrity culture, consumerism, and the power of popular icons. While the series can be perceived as salesy, with elements of search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, it is important to understand the context and intention behind Warhol's artistic approach.

During the 1980s, Warhol embraced the notion of art as a commodity, exploring the intersections between art, commerce, and popular culture. He was intrigued by the influence of mass media and the proliferation of celebrity culture, which led him to create artworks that celebrated and critiqued these phenomena simultaneously. The "Myth" series was an embodiment of this exploration, as Warhol delved into the realm of iconic figures, employing techniques that captured the essence of celebrity and consumerism.

Warhol's approach to art was inherently influenced by his background in commercial illustration and advertising. He understood the power of visual communication and the importance of capturing attention in a crowded marketplace. In this sense, his art incorporated elements that could be interpreted as salesy, aiming to attract viewers and provoke a response. The bold and recognizable imagery of the "Myth" series, featuring iconic figures such as Superman, Mickey Mouse, and Santa Claus, tapped into the collective consciousness and immediate recognition associated with these cultural symbols.

Furthermore, the concept of search engine optimization, although not a direct consideration for Warhol at the time, can be seen as an unintended consequence of his artistic strategy. SEO aims to improve online visibility and generate traffic by strategically using keywords and other techniques. In a similar vein, Warhol's choice of subject matter in the "Myth" series aligned with popular culture and iconic figures that were already deeply ingrained in the public consciousness. By incorporating these recognizable symbols, he inadvertently created works that resonated with a broad audience and became sought-after pieces in the art market.

Moreover, Warhol's use of repetition and serialization in the "Myth" series reflected his interest in mass production and the commodification of art. Each artwork in the series depicted the same image, but with subtle variations, mimicking the assembly-line production process. This approach mirrored the mass-produced nature of consumer goods and further enhanced the salesy aesthetic associated with the series.

Warhol's intention in creating the "Myth" series was multi-faceted. On one hand, it can be interpreted as a commentary on the pervasive influence of consumer culture and the idolization of celebrities. By depicting these iconic figures repeatedly, Warhol highlighted the ways in which popular icons are perpetuated and mythologized in society, thereby questioning the authenticity and manufactured nature of fame.

On the other hand, the "Myth" series also functioned as a reflection of Warhol's own position within the art market. By creating highly recognizable and marketable works, he was able to capitalize on the allure of celebrity culture and consumer demand. This approach, which can be seen as salesy, aligned with Warhol's understanding of the art market and the need for artists to navigate the commercial aspects of the art world.

Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
Andy Warhol Howdy Doody, from the Myths Series, 1981 is fully documented and referenced in the below catalogue raisonnés and texts (copies will be enclosed as added documentation with the invoices that will accompany the sale of the work).

1. Feldman, Frayda and Jörg Schellmann. Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné 1962 – 1987, 4th Ed. New York: Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.: 2003. Other variants are listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné IIB.263.
2. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this artwork.

About the Framing:
Framed to museum-grade, conservation standards, Andy Warhol Howdy Doody, from the Myths Series, 1981 is presented in a complementary moulding and mats and optical grade Plexiglas.

Subject Matter: Portrait Circus