Title: Kiku CompletePortfolio (FS II.307-309)
Medium: Screenprint on Rives BFK paper
Size: 19 5/8 inches x 26 inches
Kiku Complete Portfolio by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol’s Kiku Complete Portfolio, is a collection that he was requested to do in 1982 by the Gendai Hanga center in Tokyo. Warhol appealed very strongly to Japanese collectors, especially after 1974 when he held a retrospective of his paintings in the Daimaru Department store in Tokyo. This began a long standing relationship between Warhol and Japanese Art Collectors and Dealers. Thereafter, sometime between 1982 and 1983 a gentleman named Atsuko introduced Warhol to someone from the Gendai Hanga Center, who then asked him to make a collection tailored specifically for the Japanese. The gentleman who approached Andy Warhol from the Gendai Hanga Center, knew that Warhol liked flowers and had made prints of them before. He was especially referring to the hand colored flowers edition in 1974 which were based on Ikebana, or Japanese flower arrangements. Andy agreed and created Andy Warhol’s ‘Kiku Complete Portfolio for his Japanese audience.
Andy Warhol’s Kiku Complete Portfolio focused on particular images of the Kiku flower, which when translated to English is called the Chrysanthemum flower. This flower is a traditional symbol for the Japanese Emperor or Imperial House. Creating prints of this flower intrigued Andy, he created 43 unique variations and collages of the flower. He then created variations of single, double and groups of Chrysanthemum. The collages were the original works, based on which selections were made on which to do the silk screens on. The final edition has 300 portfolios with 3 prints in each. The work was small and had to be, because Japanese people lived in small houses and apartments.
Kiku Complete Portfolio as Part of Andy Warhol’s Complete Body of Work
The ‘kiku’ flower, typically blooms in August and therefore represents the season in which it blooms. Warhol stays quite loyal to the structure of the flower and depicts it rather accurately in bright blue, green, yellow and pink. The work is also consistent with the form of the flower. The pieces in Andy Warhol’s Kiku Complete Portfolio are all so eccentric and vibrant, they are truly a delight. The paintings are loyal to the appearance of the flower, although they do have streak of abstract that is naturally brought about by the Andy Warhol touch. While experiencing them, the viewer is transfigured by the work, the generic significance of a flower mixed with the idiosyncratic depiction render these works brilliant.