Camouflage (Trial Proof) is a screen print by Andy Warhol from 1987. The work was published as part of the artist’s Camouflage portfolio, which includes eight different colorful designs of a typical camouflage pattern.
Camouflage (Trial Proof) cannot camouflage its greatness. This screenprint stems from Andy Warhol’s Camouflage portfolio, the last series created before his untimely passing. As a trial proof, the vibrant piece never made the cut to be considered as part of the final collection, enhancing the rarity of the one-of-a-kind design. Camouflage was born when Jay Shriver, Warhol’s artistic assistant, invited Warhol to join him in exploring a new technique: painting through fabric. Acquiring an authentic camo print from a military surplus store, a marriage of a familiar pattern and intoxicating pigmentation was consummated, expanding Warhol’s relationship with abstract expressionism. While camouflage traditionally represents the necessity to blend in, the artist’s version vibrates with color, likening itself to a runway print more than a uniform. In fact, Warhol’s ventures in camouflage extended directly to the fashion world in collaboration with designer Stephen Sprouse and their barrier-breaking work paved the way for camouflage of all colors to be flaunted as streetwear today.
Always dabbling in the philosophical, Warhol seized the opportunity to redefine the meaning of camouflage with his abstract-adjacent style in the Camouflage series. Going so far as to layer the pattern with his own portrait in 1986, the King of Pop Art poses a meaningful challenge to its viewers: how do we mask ourselves in everyday life? In that same year, Warhol also used a camouflage design in the making of his Joseph Beuys in Memoriam print.
Before his passing, Warhol did leave behind a completed Camouflage collection consisting of eight transfer paintings, but without signing and printing his works. To lay the brilliance of the iconic artist’s final endeavor to rest, Rupert Jasen Smith printed the series, now bearing the name and stamp of authenticity of the executor of The Estate of Andy Warhol. Not without melancholy, Camouflage (Trial Proof) serves as a reminder of the utter uniqueness of Andy Warhol to the very end.
Unlike Warhol’s other series, in which trial proofs can be identified easily by the singular image they depict, this Camouflage trial proof using the same design as two of the regular edition Camouflages (408 and 409), but completely different colors. Therefore, it may be categorized as FS.IIB408, FS.IIB409, followed by its edition number.