Martha Graham Complete Portfoliois a portfolio of three screenprints created by Andy Warhol in 1986. It includes Satyric Festival Song 387, Lamentation 388, and Letter to the World (The Kick) 389. Known as the mother of the modern movement, Martha Graham’s influence on dance and performing arts is profound. Ahead of her contemporaries, she was the first dancer to perform at the White House and founded the renowned Martha Graham Dance Company in New York. She once said, “I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It’s permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable” (New York Times, 1985). Starting in 1929, Graham danced professionally until her retirement in 1958. However, she continued to teach at her dance company until her death in 1991 at the age of 96.
Warhol captures the beauty of dance and replicates its splendor in the Martha Graham complete portfolio. The source image for the series was taken by American photographer Barbara Morgan, who was best known for her depictions of modern dancers. Warhol created this series to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Martha Graham Dance Center of Contemporary Dance in New York. 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.