African Elephant 293 by Andy Warhol is part of the artist’s Endangered Species portfolio. Warhol fondly referred to this series as his “animals in makeup,” given the bold pop colors he implemented to portray the animals as larger than life, as seen in this print. Warhol’s use of overstated lines and the realism of the subject give the elephant a mass and a sadness that are a testament to the goal of the commission. The African elephant is one of the most sought after animals in the poaching world, as they are greatly valued for their ivory tusks.
African Elephant 293 as Part of Andy Warhol’s Larger Body of Work
In 1983, Warhol was commissioned by his friend and publisher Ron Feldman and his wife Freyda to create the series of ten endangered species. Both Freyda and Ronald were celebrated political activists who were very active philanthropists. In 1983, they asked Warhol to create a portfolio of ten endangered species to raise environmental consciousness. Other animals featured in the series include the Pine Barrens Tree Frog, the Bald Eagle and the Siberian Tiger. The portfolio features some of Warhol’s most vibrant and surreal colors, which highlight the features of the animals in an abstract manner.