In 1983, Andy Warhol was commissioned to create his Endangered Species complete portfolio by his friend and publisher, Ron Feldman, and his wife, Freyda. The group published the series in order to advocate for environmental consciousness and promote awareness of endangered animals. In addition to being celebrated political activists and prominent philanthropists, Freyda and Ronald were the founders of the Feldman Fine Arts gallery. Thus, the intersection of art and humanitarianism was an important venture for them, leading them to commission this series from Warhol. Warhol fondly referred to this suite as his “Animals in Makeup,” in regard to the bold pop colors he employs, which portray the animals as larger than life.
In 1986, Warhol was commissioned to do a series of animals in danger of extinction again, this time in the form of illustrations for the book Vanishing Animals by Kurt Benirschke. Compiled in Vanishing Animals, Warhol depicts a collection of endangered animals, detailing the animals’ backgrounds and what kind of impact their extinction would have on the existence of humanity. Warhol’s Endangered Species complete series was printed in 1983 by Rupert Jasen Smith in New York. This portfolio of ten screenprints is printed on Lenox Museum Board, and all prints are signed and numbered in pencil. Included in the Endangered Species portfolio are: FS II.293 to FS II.302.