Andy Warhol Anniversary Donald Duck (F & S II.360)Facts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title Anniversary Donald Duck (F & S II.360) Year 1985 Size 30 1/2″ x 43″ 77,5 x 109,2 cm Medium Screenprint on Arches 88 paper. Edition Edition of 30, signed and numbered in pencil.
Andy Warhol Anniversary Donald Duck (F & S II.360)Meaning & History
"The juxtaposition between the playful image and the context from which it stems is a nuance that only a magician of manipulation such as Warhol could take on."
Anniversary Donald Duck is a single screenprint from a small edition of 30, executed in 1984. It depicts an image of Donald Duck taken from a 1943 film entitled Der Fuehrer’s Face, an animated Anti-Nazi propaganda short film. The famous children’s cartoon character appears mid-stride, holding a broom over his arm, surrounded by identical ducks. The juxtaposition between the playful image and the context from which it stems is a nuance that only a magician of manipulation such as Warhol could take on.
Warhol had also employed the same image as part of his Ads series of the same year, a portfolio of popular advertisements for products, brands, companies and film. To understand why the artist selected the image is to grasp the enormous popularity of Der Fuehrer’s Face, which won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. In the film Donald and his fellow ducks work in a hellish factory in Nazi Germany, and is inundated with Nazi propaganda. By the end of the film, the experience is revealed to have been a nightmare with Donald exclaiming: ‘Am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!’ The message of the film, with its nationalistic content, would have still been in the imagination of the American public even decades after Wartime.
Warhol frequently borrowed images from newspapers and mass media in order to comment on its prevalence to society. That a children’s cartoon could be capitalised upon in two propagandistic films (The New Spirit and Der Fuehrer’s Face) reveals the immense power of images, something that was very close to the artist: ‘I never read, I just look at pictures’.
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