A vanishing world, according to Andy Warhol: How the artist highlighted the plight of endangered animals


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

His vibrant screenprints are more commonly associated with Hollywood glamour queens Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor.

Yet Andy Warhol also used the trademark style to highlight the issue of endangered animals, in a series set to go up for sale this month.

The complete set of 10 screenprints in the Endangered Species series  he referred to as “animals in make-up,” include colourful prints of an African elephant, a bighorn ram, a San Francisco silverspot butterfly, a black rhinoceros, an orangutan and a Pine Barrens tree frog. They will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London later this month and are estimated to bring between £250,000 to £300,000.

The series, produced in 1983, came out of Warhol’s concern over ecology after a conversation with his New York art dealers Freya and Ronald Feldman.  Séverine Nackers, Sotheby’s head of prints in Europe, said: “I think he was making a statement by representing these animals in the same way as Monroe, the Queen, and Muhammad Ali. He wanted to highlight the issue of them disappearing.”

Warhol’s foundation is currently selling off many of the artist’s works. In November, an auction at Christie’s in New York brought in more than $17m. The auction house has also been auctioning off 125 works by the pop artist online. Ms Nackers said: “His work remains so iconic. He was really clever at using images that appeal to everyone. His popularity has remained and is one of the few artists whose price has gone up that much in the past 10 years.”

The Sotheby’s auction will also feature a unique colour screenprint Self-Portrait as well as the Cambell’s Soup II series. It comprises 10 screenprints , which are expected to go for £150,000. Others include Shoes, a print with diamond dust, and three Sunset screenprints.