For his Myths series, Warhol selected the fantasy characters and imaginary heroes of a typical American childhood. For The Witch 261, he invited Margaret Hamilton, the actress who portrayed the Wicked Witch in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, to recreate her classic, frightening pose in his studio. Warhol uses her notorious green skin against a dark purple background to accentuate her features and the intimidation of her pose.
The Witch 261 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
The Witch 261 by Andy Warhol is a part of 10 screenprints in his Myths series that exemplifies Warhol’s 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. While each of these characters has a strong, sometimes unpleasant persona, they are distinctly separated from reality. It has been said that Warhol considered each of these characters to be facets of his personality.