Throughout his career, Andy Warhol worked with assistants and printers to create numerous print portfolios. In 1977 he met printer Rupert Jasen Smith who worked with him to create the Space Fruit series. These prints demonstrate Warhol’s experimentation with a the classical tradition of the still life. Still life images by their very nature are choreographed compositions focusing on shape, color, space and oftentimes symbolism. For centuries, artists used the study of a composition including fruits, vegetables, glasses of water and insects to display their artistic virtuoso. However, Warhol flexes his artistic license in Space Fruit: Cantaloupes II 198 and takes the still life image of cantaloupes further by accentuating the picture with vibrant turquoise shadows and a pink background that make the subject pop.
Space Fruit: Cantaloupes II by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Space Fruit: Cantaloupes II exemplifies Warhol’s interest in the use of shadows as a compositional element. He first placed one or more pieces of fruit on a white background, lit it from an angled position so that shadows were cast onto the white paper, and then photographed these compositions. He also used collage and drawing to create the source imagery for the additional screens used in each print. Each color in these images represents a different silkscreened layer of the print. The printing process allowed Warhol endless color combinations within each composition.