Andy Warhol, ‘Hans Christian Andersen (FS II.399)’, 1987, Revolver Gallery
Andy Warhol, ‘Hans Christian Andersen (FS II.399)’, 1987, Revolver Gallery

Warhol’s Anderson series showcases a central composition of mirroring figures in what seem to be women holding onto a tree form with an image of a ballerina at the top of the image. In these works, Warhol minimizes his color palette to about 3 colors all printed flat on paper. The folk art inspired work within this series does not give the viewer a distinct portrayal of who the figures and objects actually are, but instead uses the title, Hans Christian Anderson, to refer us to the Danish author who is best remembered for his fairy tales that expressed themes that transcend age and nationality. Some of his famous tales include The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling and The Nighingale. His stories have not only inspired Warhol in this series, but have inspired plays, ballets, and both live-action and animated films. Warhol’s playful renderings of scenes from these tales portray a childlike depiction of scenes that could represent scenes from his various stories.

Series: Warhol succeeded in translating these images and capturing Anderson’s genius for humor and beauty in his fairy tale stories. A repeated portrait was also created of the author in the single print. The mirroring we see in the fairy tale renderings was humorously translated in the authors’ own portrait of his body appearing twice. This keeps the work consistent within the series using technique that appears in each of the other works. Warhol seemed to be inspired by powerful figures of all sorts from leaders to authors. He documents these figures well in each series in his bold Pop Art style, which seems to work for every icon he has printed.

Signature: Numbered and signed in pencil on verso by the Estate of Andy Warhol.

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