Andy Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians complete portfolio explores our imagination of the American West. I was printed in 1986 by Rupert Jasen Smith in New York. In this series, Warhol presents themes of American exceptionalism and the romanticism of the country’s history. The complete series is included in Warhol’s top 10 most valuable portfolios of all time.
Warhol interspersed recognizable portraits of well-known American “heroes”–John Wayne, Annie Oakley, Teddy Roosevelt, and General George Custer–with less familiar Native American images and motifs to present a commentary on the American mythology of the historic West. Rather than portraying Native Americans within their historical landscape or Cowboys in their veritable forms, Warhol chose to portray a popular, romanticized version of the American West. The West that he chose to represent is familiar to everyone and can be seen in novels, films, TV series. Warhol’s Cowboys and Indians suite serves as an ahistorical representation that mirrors a popular interpretation of the past. Warhol addresses similar themes of American exceptionalism and romanticism in his other works, such as his Ads and Myths portfolios.
Included in this portfolio are FS II.373-386: John Wayne, Annie Oakley, General Custer, Northwest Coast Mask, Kachina Dolls, Indian Shield, Mother and Child, Geronimo, Indian Head Nickel and Teddy Roosevelt.