The inspiration for Warhol’s Cow 11A and the rest of the Cow series came from Ivan Karp, an instrumental art dealer in the 1960s. Karp once told Warhol, “Why don’t you paint some cows? They’re so wonderfully pastoral and such a durable image in the history of the arts.” (POPism: “The Warhol Sixties,” p. 22) Gerard Malanga, Warhol’s printer, was the one who chose the photograph of the cow. Ultimately, it was what Warhol did with this image that made the final product so interesting. For the colors, he used a light brown on a bold blue that made the cow look like a playful storybook animal. Warhol printed the cow on wallpaper, introducing this process to his creative production. This particular print was published for an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, 1971.
Cow 11A by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Cow 11A is the second of the four-color schemes in the series produced from 1966 to 1976. The color schemes that Warhol published between 1966 and 1976 were Pink Cow on Yellow Background (1966), Brown Cow with Blue Background (1971), Yellow Cow on Blue Background (1971) and finally Pink Cow on Purple Background (1976). Warhol’s Cow series was his formal effort to introduce the production of wallpaper into his creative repertoire. The wallpaper was first used to paper the gallery walls for Warhol’s exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in 1966.