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Andy Warhol - Dollar Sign_FS II.280 jpg
Andy Warhol Dollar sign 280

Dollar Sign 280

Catalogue Title: Dollar Sign (FS II.280)

Year: 1982

Size: 20″ x 16″

Medium: Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board

Edition: Edition of 25. Signed and numbered in pencil. Each print is unique.


Dollar Sign 280 is a screenprint by Andy Warhol from his iconic 1982 Dollar Sign portfolio. The work appears in a series of six screen prints depicting the dollar symbol in various styles and colorations. Notably, the prints contain a source image created by Warhol himself, which separates the Dollar Sign portfolio from much of his other work. Dollar Sign 280’s contrast between the vivid purple background and bright orange symbol reflects the bold, even brash attitude of the series.

The Dollar Sign prints reflect an extreme of Andy Warhol’s artistic philosophy. Warhol was famously a proponent of consumerism and mass-production. His admiration of capitalism extended to the assembly-line style in which he produced many of his pieces, modeled after the manufacturing methods of the Post-War era. Of course, Warhol was always open about the relationship between his art and his entrepreneurship. “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art,” he wrote in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” This attitude is clearly reflected in the fetishization of consumer goods in some of his most recognizable pieces, such as his renditions of Campbell’s Soup and Coca-Cola. Even beyond brand-based screenprints, the pop art aesthetic draws cues from the bright colors of advertising and celebrates commodification.

With the Dollar Sign portfolio, Andy Warhol smashes another barrier between art and commodity. Where early critics argued that Campbell’s Soup aimed to reflect consumerism in an artistic context, Dollar Sign 280 starkly declares itself a product of consumerism. Furthermore, it reflects another quote from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: “I like money on the wall. Say you were going to buy a $200,000 painting. I think you should take that money, tie it up, and hang it on the wall. Then when someone visited you the first thing they would see is the money on the wall.” 

In Dollar Sign, Warhol has literally put money on the wall, inviting the viewer to reflect on how commodification affects art. Thus, Warhol has created a role for the consumer in defining what art is and what it communicates. By depicting the commodified extreme of the pop-art movement, Dollar Sign is Warhol at his most nakedly honest and self-aware. But by embracing the irony of the commodification of a depiction of money, it’s also Warhol at his most tongue-in-cheek. Finally, Warhol has imbued a universal, everyday symbol with his unique philosophical, and playful, essence.

Dollar Sign 280 is a variation on this theme, defined by loud contrasts and frenetic coloring. The black source image stands straight against the solid purple background. The superimposed orange dollar sign, slightly askew, loudly interrupts the background to make the painting pop. It’s manic filling deviates noticeably from the precision and fullness that defines many of Warhol’s other screenprints. In spite of this, the unmistakable energy is quintessentially pop-art, making this piece a unique but unmistakably Warholian composition.

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