The Silverspot is a species of butterfly whose name alludes to the silver markings underneath its wings. Its decline in population is largely due to its habitat being close to major cities in the Bay Area. The mass flow of industrialization and population flocking to the area is a major contributor to the loss of habitat for the species, causing its rarity. Andy Warhol’s print of Silverspot 298 features the butterfly superimposed on a picture of grass, with deep colors and bright outlines that make it seem larger than life.
San Francisco Silverspot 298 by Andy Warhol as Part of his Larger Body of Work
In 1983 Warhol was commissioned by his friend and publisher Ron Feldman and his wife Freyda to create the Endangered Species series. Both Freyda and Ronald were celebrated political activists who were very active philanthropists. Warhol fondly referred to this series as his “animals in makeup,” given the bold pop colors he uses to portray the animals as larger than life. In 1986, Warhol was commissioned again to do a series of animals in danger of extinction, this time it was illustrations for a book detailing the animals’ backgrounds and what kind of impact their extinction would have on our livelihood.