Andy Warhol Hans Christian Andersen Portfolio (F & S II.398-401)Facts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title: Hans Christian Andersen (F & S II.398-401) Year: 1987 Size 38 x 38″ 96.5 x 96.5cm each Medium: Portfolio of four screenprints on Lenox Museum Board Edition: Edition of 25, 8 AP, 3 PP, 5 HC, numbered in pencil and signed in pencil on verso by the executor of the Estate of Andy Warhol, the publisher, and the printer on a stamped certificate of authenticity.
Andy Warhol Hans Christian Andersen Portfolio (F & S II.398-401)Meaning & History
Produced in the twilight of the artist's life and career, Warhol returned to his childhood love for Hans Christian Anderson's fairytales in this portfolio. Screenprinting the writer's delicate paper cut-outs, these works are amongst Warhol's most whimsical prints.
Hans Christian Anderson is a portfolio of four screenprints executed by the artist in 1987. This is the second portfolio of two, wherein each screenprint has a dark background. Produced in the artist’s final year, Warhol at this stage turned to a repertoire of nostalgic imagery from his childhood. The source material for this whimsical series comes from Anderson’s own cutout illustrations and thus combines the imaginations of the Danish nineteenth-century writer and the father of Pop art.
What is immediately striking about Warhol’s Hans Christian Anderson portfolio is its formal reimagining: Anderson’s paper-cutting method was known for being intricate, small in size and a manual process. He believed in the poetic power of the paper and scissors, saying that ‘Paper cutting is the prelude to writing.’ In contrast, Warhol’s screenprinting process can be seen as mechanical and mass-produced. He has blown up the papercuts, rendering them giant-size. Among the paper-cuts are Two Women by a Palm Tree with a Ballerina on Top of It, Clown with a tablet on his head, Miller with two Ole Lukojes. The imagines are playful and primitive in style.
Hans Christian Anderson himself appears in one of the four screenprints (394), wherein his painterly portrait appears alongside a sketched one, a testament to the writer’s career as an illustrator in addition to his storytelling abilities.
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