Santa Claus 266 is a screenprint based on the fictional character from the folkloric tradition of St. Nicholas, who travels from one house to another delivering presents to children the night before Christmas. There are many variations of the tradition and the story behind Santa Claus, but he has become such a popularized mythical figure that he is a universally recognizable myth. This type of “celebrity” aura of Santa Claus is what drew Warhol to him and the iconic nature of fictional characters. Just like Marilyn Monroe or Chanel or Coca-Cola, Santa Claus is a brand that is a pillar of American imagery.
Santa Claus 266 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Santa Claus 266 is a part of Warhol’s Myths series that exemplifies his unerring sense for the powerful motifs of his time. Most of images in Warhol’s Myths series are taken from 1950s television or old Hollywood films. They portray the universal view of America’s once captivating and commanding past. Other pieces included in the series are characters loved by children such as Mickey Mouse, Howdy Doody, and Santa Claus, as well as fictional figures like Dracula, The Wicked Witch of the West, and Uncle Sam. It has been said that Warhol considered each of these characters to be facets of his personality.