Andy Warhol

Flowers on paper

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Flowers on paper

Flowers on paper

Press release

In collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York, the Galerie Ropac presents works by Andy Warhol which have never yet been exhibited. The exhibition combines various cycles of Warhol's work on the subject of Flowers, one of his elementary themes. We are showing altogether 26 unique works dating from between 1964 and 1983, all of them silkscreens on paper.

From Edouard Manet through Vincent van Gogh to Paul Klee, the flower motif assumed a prominent place in the more recent history of art. Photography played a decisive role when the flower had its real renaissance within Pop Art, centring on Warhol's Flowers which, based on a photograph, are amongst the most important flower pictures of the 20th century. Probably for the first time since van Gogh, an essential concept of modern art was developed using the flower motif. Warhol created something completely new when he used silkscreen to combine the pictorial seriality of the age of television with the epitomic serial motif of Nature: the flower. Since its comeback in Warhol's work, it has never quite vanished from art exhibitions and studios, and is still cultivated almost obsessively as a motif by major artists, such as Pipilotti Rist, Wolfgang Laib or Nobuyoshi Araki.

The flower motif fascinated Andy Warhol for over thirty years. In his work as a commercial artist during the 1950s, he approached the theme in a classical manner, as the 17th-century Dutch still-life painters had done. In the early 1960s he radically abstracted the representation and shifted the motif into the realm of American Pop Art.

Three masterpieces in the exhibition are powerful black-and-white silkscreens dating from 1964 – some of his earliest – which later served as models for the famous Flower Paintings on canvas. Also on show are silkscreens from the famous Flowers series (1970), which are amongst the undisputed icons of Pop Art, and some subtle works from the block Black and White Flowers and from Handcolored Flowers (1974). The 1980s are represented by works from the cycle Kiku (1983), the impressive Flowers for Tacoma Dome, the Daisies (1982) and the strongly abstracted Poinsettas.