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Andy Warhol - Shadows F.S. II 209 jpg
Warhol Shadows I 209 Wall Display
Andy Warhol Shadows I Complete Portfolio size comparison image. All 6 prints on the wall next to silhouettes of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgewick.

Shadows I 209

Catalogue Title: Shadows I (FS II.209)

Year: 1979

Size: 43” x 30 1/2”

Medium: Screenprint with diamond dust on Arches 88 paper.

Edition: Edition of 15, 2AP, 1 PP, 1 HC, signed and numbered in pencil on verso.

Hidden

Shadows I 209 by Andy Warhol is one of six prints from the Shadows I portfolio and part of Warhol’s larger Shadows project. Made up of deep blue and grey divided in a slant, this original print exemplifies the moody, abstract characteristics of the Shadows I portfolio and the greater Shadows series. Warhol published Shadows I 209 in 1979 in collaboration with his “master” printer Rupert Jasen Smith. The collection was exhibited that same year at the Heiner Freidrich gallery in New York.

Of the Shadows portfolio, Warhol said, “Someone asked me if I thought they were art and I said no… disco décor.” Playing on this idea, it seems that Warhol felt as if this series was reminiscent of wallpaper more so than high art—perhaps appropriate for gracing the walls of a disco club like Studio 54. He exemplified this feeling when he later used the Shadows for the backdrop of a fashion shoot for Interview magazine.

According to previous MOCA director Philippe Vergne, Warhol never saw all 102 pieces of Shadows together. He intentionally left no instructions on the order in which to hang them and the pieces are not numbered; they are meant to be hung at random. Perhaps leaving room for play, he allowed viewers to have a new experience each time the panels are installed. This idea evokes a new concept, which is not seen in any of Warhol’s other works, as most of his pieces, although organized into portfolios, can be appropriately hung individually. While Shadows I 209 may look gorgeous on its own, it is only fully appreciated when presented in unison with its other colorful counterparts.

The Shadows I 209 screenprint, as well as other works from the portfolio, were painted with a sponge mop, leaving thick lines and dunes in the paint’s texture. They also include the use of diamond dust (making them even more suitable for adorning the walls of a night club). Warhol used diamond dust in other works like Double Mickey MouseShoes, and Grapes, as he was inspired to do so by Rupert Jasen Smith who used the technique before in his own work.

Warhol’s complete Shadows collection includes Shadows I (FS II.204-209), Shadows II (FS II.210-215), Shadows III (FS II.216-221), Shadows IV (FS II.222-223) and Shadows V (FS II.224-225).

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