Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)


Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
signed twice and inscribed 'TO ISABELLE ANDY Andy Warhol' (on the overlap)
synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas
5 x 5 in. (12.7 x 12.7 cm.)
Painted in 1965.
Isabelle Collin Dufresne, New York
Jeanne Frank Gallery, New York
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 16 November 1995, lot 373
Peter P. Marino, New York
G. Frei and N. Printz, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings and Sculptures 1964-1969, New York, 2004, vol. 02B, pp. 144 and 155, no. 1784 (illustrated in color).


With Flowers, Warhol skillfully marries together the old and the new; the venerable tradition of the floral still life is updated by his use of the then revolutionary silkscreen process. "With Flowers, Andy was just trying a different subject matter. In a funny way, he was kind of repeating the history of art. It was like, now were doing my Flower period! Like Monet's water lilies, Van Gogh's flowers, the genre" (G. Malanga, quoted in D. Dalton, A Year in the Life of Andy Warhol, London 2003, p. 74). Warhol's interpretation of this age-old subject was entirely his own and he rendered his flowers as mass-produced and manufactured, rousing a distinctive sort of wonder unlike the admiration for painterly hand. Flowers, with a frontal viewpoint and cropped composition, lack a ground or horizon line and thereby dispense with a controlled sense of space. Finally, the palette of artificial, cosmetic colors diverged from the both the blooms' naturalistic hues. This distinction is especially pronounced in the present work, whose yellow screen seem to make the medley of blooms pulsate, with figure and ground alternating rhythmically.
In selecting the color for his flowers, Warhol deliberately chose unnatural-looking hues of brilliant synthetic color. It was the Flower series when color began to play an increasingly significant role in his work. The vibrant splashes of color draw the viewer in immediately. The abstract manufactured look of these Flowers highlights both their commercial application as a saleable commodity and the mass-produced process by which these natural symbols of beauty have come into being. Echoing his iconic portraits of other mass-produced beauties such as Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor, the Flowers series serves as an extension of Warhol's synthetic vision of the universe into the realm of nature.