Letter to the World (The Kick) 389 is one of three screenprints in Andy Warhol’s Martha Graham series. This print depicts Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance, performing a fluent kick which was a part of her dramatic dance titled “Letter to the World.” The photograph is taken in 1940 by American photographer Barbara Morgan and became the most widely published photograph of Martha Graham. Warhol employs pink hues to Graham’s dress endorsing her femininity. His hand-drawn lines accentuate the unanchored movement of her body and dress and capture the fluidity of movement through a two-dimensional medium.
Martha Graham, Letter to the World (The Kick) (Unique) 389 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Letter to the World (The Kick) 389 is one of three screenprints produced in the Martha Graham series of 1986. The portfolio was created to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in New York. Warhol captures the beauty of a different art form, dance, and replicates its splendor in a still two-dimensional image. The source image for the series was taken by American photographer Barbara Morgan, best known for her depictions of modern dancers. To commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Martha Graham Dance Center of Contemporary Dance in New York, Andy Warhol created this series in appreciation of her contribution to the performing arts discipline. Warhol’s portfolio compliments Graham by showing a variation of her abilities not just as a dancer, but as someone who communicates profound emotion through movement and physical expression.
Photo credit: Martha Graham in Letter to the World (Kick), 1940. Barbara and Willard Morgan photographs and papers, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.