Buffalo Nickel 374 by Andy Warhol is a screenprint of a five-cent copper coin that was struck and circulated by the US Mint from 1913 to 1938. The image was designed by the sculptor James Earle Fraser who chose two different images to depict. He chose a Native American and, in this case, a wild bison. Noticeably absent in this print of the Buffalo Nickel are the vivid technicolor hues that typically accent Warhol’s prints. The image serves as a rare case in which Warhol implemented a monochromatic color scheme so as not to obscure its original source.
Buffalo Nickel 374 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Warhol included this print in his Cowboys and Indians series, which also includes War Bonnet Indian and Action Picture. In creating this series, Warhol was not so much interested in portraying an accurate historical representation of the wild west as he was interested in delineating symbols, figures and personalities of that time that have been popularized by media sources. While they may not be historically true to form, the images capture the spirit of the American west. More specifically, it captures the American west that played vividly in the minds of people who consumed Western films that starred the likes of Elvis Presley (Flaming Star) and John Wayne (The Alamo).