The Black and White Flowers complete portfolio by Andy Warhol is a set of ten screenprints that Warhol published in 1974. It is one of three “Flowers” series that he created throughout the course of his career, and is one of the more “crude” yet valuable series that he created because of its ingenuity and originality. Warhol found these floral images in a wallpaper catalogue called Interpretive Flower Designs. He then traced the images, adding his own shading, and screenprinted them into an organized portfolio. The images used in this series are the same ones from his Hand-Colored Flowers series, in which Warhol used watercolor to add his own subtle hues. Both series were printed by Alexander Heinrici.
While Warhol’s work is typically more reflective of the Pop Art genre, the Black and White Flowers complete portfolio is somewhat of a more special series, as it showcases the artist’s personal style in a more contemporary light, exhibiting his talent throughout different modes. Warhol takes recognizable flowers, such as roses and sunflowers, and maintains the integrity of the subject while still adding his own spin through abstract shadows and shading; he creates masterpieces out of the banal.
In most of Warhol’s work, he prefers to leave his presence out of the final product, such as when creating images of soup cans, Coke bottles, or sometimes, advertisements. It is this representational, objective tendency of his work that makes a series like Black and White Flowers all the more interesting, as we are able to witness Warhol’s artistic choices through the physical movements behind hand-drawn illustration.
Black and White Flowers Complete Portfolio as Part of Warhol’s Larger Body of Work
Warhol continuously revisited the use of flowers as a subject matter throughout his entire career in almost every medium. Compared with Warhol’s Flowers series from 1970, the hand-drawn quality of Black and White Flowers is more delicate and thematically different than many of his other subjects, showing Warhol’s ability to incorporate and experiment with different methods. When comparing this portfolio with his others that feature screenprints delineated by thick, machine-printed lines and brilliant colors that purposefully hide the artist’s influence, these prints feel more reflective of Warhol’s personal touch and less like the product of a printing machine. This series can be compared to his other screeprinted floral work, Kiku, in a similar manner as his original Flowers works. The Black and White Flowers complete portfolio includes FS II.100-109.
Photo credit: Photography by Dennis Hopper