Andy Warhol Shadows FS-II-223 jpg
Andy Warhol Shadows IV Complete Portfolio size comparison image. All 2 prints on the wall next to silhouettes of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgewick.

Shadows IV 223

Catalog Title: Shadows IV (FS II.223)
Year: 1979
Size: 43” x 30 1/2”
Medium: Screenprint with diamond dust on Arches 88 paper.
Edition: Edition of 10. Signed and numbered in pencil on verso.

Andy Warhol’s Shadows IV 223 screenprint is one of two works from the Shadows IV portfolio, and part of his larger 102-piece Shadows series. Composed of two blocks of pink and black, this original print exemplifies the mysterious and brooding abstract nature of his complete Shadows work. Warhol published Shadows 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. 

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

According to previous MOCA director Philippe Vergne, Warhol himself never saw all 102 pieces of the Shadows suite together. He also never numbered the panels, or created instructions on the order in which to hang them. They are meant to be hung at random, and Warhol wanted them to be used this way. 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. Although his artworks are organized into portfolios, each print can be appropriately hung individually, whereas the Shadows series are meant to be presented in union.

Shadows IV 223 and other works from the series contain diamond dust, which Warhol also used in Double Mickey Mouse, Shoesand his Grapes portfolio, among other works. Inspired by Rupert Jasen Smith who previously used diamond dust in his work, Warhol covers the prints in tiny crushed up shards to add a sparkly, ethereal effect—perfect for a flashy night club scene.

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).

Photo credits:

  1. Arthur Tress, Andy Warhol, 1979. Image: © Arthur Tress, © Courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York, Artwork © 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
  2. Andy Warhol and Gerard Malanga (on left) at the Factory, New York, 1964. Photo: Ugo Mulas. © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved. Artwork: © 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, London.
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