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Andy Warhol working with Gerard Malanga on the Campbell鈥檚 Soup paintings at the Factory, New York, 1964. Photo Ugo Mulas 漏 Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved. Andy Warhol Artwork 漏 2023 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Andy Warhol working with Gerard Malanga on the Campbell鈥檚 Soup paintings at the Factory, New York, 1964. Photo Ugo Mulas 漏 Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved. Andy Warhol Artwork 漏 2023 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Collecting Guide: The Silkscreen

Andy Warhol
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Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) explored the intersection between art and commerce like no other artist in history. Beginning his career as a commercial illustrator, his transition to contemporary artist was marked by the depiction of everyday products such as Campbell’s Soup cans, Brillo boxes and Coca-Cola bottles. 

Discover more about Andy Warhol's Silkscreen method. If you are interested in adding to your collection, speak to an art consultant now. 

What is the Silkscreen Method?
Andy Warhol
Myths: Mickey Mouse , 1981
Screenprint with Diamond Dust on Lenox Museum Board
96.5 x 96.5 cm
Edition of 200 (+ 30 AP, 5 PP, 5 EP, 4 HC, 30 TP)

What is the Silkscreen Method?

Silkscreen printing is a method of image making that has both commercial and artistic applications. There have been many iterations of the technique in the medium's long history but none were more elaborate than Warhol’s pioneering approach. Warhol used photographs, torn sheets of paper, lines drawn with a pen and paint applied by brush to create a series of stencils, all of which would impact the final design. Each stencil and each colour were applied one layer at a time, with the ink being pushed through a mesh screen onto paper or fabric by hand. This form of printing requires a high level of expertise and is far more arduous and labour intensive than other printing techniques. However, it is unmatched in its ability to create a vibrant, painterly finish and it allows for subtle variation between each print.

Use as an Artistic Medium
Andy Warhol
Mick Jagger, 1975
Screenprint on Arches Aquarelle (Rough) paper
110.5 x 73.7 cm
Edition of 250 (+ 50 AP)

Use as an Artistic Medium

In the 1960s, the Pop art revolution took hold and artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Peter Blake and Andy Warhol looked to ephemeral images printed on magazines, posters and newspapers as the basis for creating art that tapped into what was current in Western culture. The silkscreen process provided these artists with a way of combining source images in their artwork with the flexibility to reimagine them, warping faces and imbuing photographs with a vibrant range of colours. In doing so, they elevated the silkscreen from its primarily commercial function to a medium for artistic expression, paving the way for subsequent generations to explore its creative possibilities. Today some of the world's leading artists have embraced the medium as a part of their practice, including David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama and Banksy.

Silkscreen Prints vs Original
Andy Warhol
Myths: Superman, 1981
Screenprint with diamond dust on Lenox Museum Board
96.5 x 96.5 cm
Edition of 200 (+ 5 EP, 12 HC, 30 AP, 5 PP, 30 TP)

Silkscreen Prints vs Original

A major benefit of the silkscreen, over other artistic mediums, is that it allows for the production of multiples. Warhol capitalised on this, creating prints on paper in multiple editions. However, he also created fresh, one-of-a-kind artworks that were realised through the silkscreen process onto canvas. Sometimes these pieces were finished with hand painting but, perhaps more frequently, they were not: the printed image represented the completed work of art. The act of creating a painting through a printing process was a powerful innovation in the history of art, challenging the traditional definition of ‘painting’. The result is vibrant, novel works of art with an extremely smooth finish and a complete absence of visible brush strokes. Symptoms of the artists labour had never been less present on a painting, a fact that Warhol playfully acknowledged with the glib remark: ‘the reason I’m painting this way is that I want to be a machine’.

A Defiant Symbol Against Abstract Expressionism
Andy Warhol
Grapes, 1979
Complete portfolio of 6 screenprints on Strathmore Bristol paper
Each 117.5 x 87 cm

A Defiant Symbol Against Abstract Expressionism

The artistic movement that dominated American art during the 1950s was Abstract Expressionism. The likes of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko were its chief protagonists and through gestural expressive brushwork they created abstract paintings which explored metaphysical themes. Pop art rebelled against this artistic approach, seeking instead to create art that was inseparable from, and an expression of, contemporary culture. The silkscreen was a defiant symbol of this contrasting approach to image-making. The emphasis placed by the Abstract Expressionists on the artist’s gesture was completely juxtaposed by the silkscreen through which the artist could create paintings on canvas that left no clear marks from its creation, just like the images across magazines and advertisements from which Warhol drew so much inspiration.

 

If you are interested in adding to your collection speak to one of our art consultants now - info@halcyongallery.com

Andy Warhol: Beyond the Brand

Andy Warhol: Beyond the Brand

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