Andy Warhol, ‘Black Lenin (FS II.402)’, 1987, Revolver Gallery
Andy Warhol, ‘Black Lenin (FS II.402)’, 1987, Revolver Gallery

Title: Black Lenin (FS II.402)
Medium: Screenprint on Arches 88 paper.
Year: 1987
Size: 39 3/8” x 29 1/2”
Edition: 120, 24 AP, 6 PP, 10 HC, signed and numbered in pencil lower left.


Lenin 1987 was Warhol’s portrait of Vladimir Lenin, the political leader of Russia. Lenin was the father of Russia’s communist revolution. Thus, this print includes shades of red, the color most associated with communism. Lenin is primarily black and less defined to emphasize Lenin’s famous face and hand in red. His body blends in with the black background, allowing his face and hand to stand out. With this print, Warhol is able to emphasize the intelligence and power of the political leader.


Warhol demonstrates the diversity of his subject matters as he reaches out beyond the realm of Hollywood celebrities, socialites, rock stars and wildly popular household items and explores a more daring subject — politics. By doing so, we are confronted with an ambiguously conflicting thought: Did Warhol choose a political figure as his focus to bring depth to his portfolio of motifs, or did he take the depth out of politics by choosing this subject matter to exist next to the ubiquitous images of soup cans, dollar signs and flowers?

About Andy Warhol

Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.

American, 1928-1987, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York