Andy Warhol Space Fruit: Still Lifes (F & S II.198 - 203)Facts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title Space Fruit: Still Lifes (F & S II.198 - 203) Year 1979 Size 30″ x 40″ 76,2 x 101,6 cm Medium Screenprint on Strathmore Bristol paper Edition Portfolio of 6. Edition of 150, 1 PP on Strathmore Bristol Paper signed and numbered in felt pen. 30 on 4-ply Lenox Museum Board numbered in Roman numerals, signed and numbered in felt pen.
Andy Warhol Space Fruit: Still Lifes (F & S II.198 - 203)Meaning & History
"If colour is to be viewed as the ultimate vehicle for feelings in art, with each colour evoking a different emotion on the spectrum, Warhol approaches this with mastery."
Space Fruit is a portfolio of six screenprints published by Warhol in 1979, each depicting a different fruit against an intensely coloured background. Included in the suite of fruits are Cantaloupes (II.198), Watermelon (II.199), Apples (II.200), (II.201) Cantaloupes, (II.202) Peaches, and Pears (II.203).
The portfolio demonstrates Warhol’s careful and considered use of colour to bring life to his images. In Cantaloupes Warhol has contrasted the orange of the oranges – a far more vivid hue than they would be in real life, against a blue background. These complimentary colours on opposite ends of the wheel instill an incredible brightness to the image. If colour is to be viewed as the ultimate vehicle for feelings in art, with each colour evoking a different emotion on the spectrum, Warhol approaches this with mastery. His overly saturated black-and-white images of Marilyn Monroe evoke morbidity and darkness, whilst the rainbow colours in Space Fruit evoke an almost child-like joy.
Warhol had always had a bright palette since honing his Pop Art sensibility decades earlier – yet at this late stage in his career, it is interesting to see how confident his use had become. When one sees Space Fruits, we can immediately recall the artist’s most famed instance of painting fruit: the Banana of 1966 that was to become one of the most widely recognised images for its association with the band the Velvet Underground. As with soup cans and brillo pads, Warhol recognised the power of ‘ordinary’ objects. In comparison to Banana, one sees that Warhol had become bolder and bigger in style: here he plays around with the dimensionality of the fruits, showing them in both two and three dimensional, their shadows and their positions. In essence, he deconstructs the fruit on a level that is non-representational.
During the late seventies, Warhol moved away from portraiture of celebrities and figures and began to silkscreen more still lifes. An underappreciated aspect of his ouevre that should not be overlooked, the artist’s still lifes can be seen as a marker of Warhol’s trademark style that would go on to leave an indelible mark on fashion, art and pop culture. Indeed many recognise blocks of bright colours such as those exhibited in Space Fruit as distinctively Warholian. As lex Blimes, Vogue contributing editor puts it ‘Warhol didn’t so much predict the future as create it’.
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