Cow, from Whitney Museum of American Art
Cow, from Whitney Museum of American Art , 1971
Offset lithograph on wallpaper
Sheet: 115.5 x 76 cm
Framed: 134 x 96.5 cm
A fabulous original poster based upon the third version of Warhol's iconic Cow Wallpaper.
According to the artist, the initial inspiration for the Cow series came from art dealer Ivan Karp. "Why don't you paint some cows, they're so wonderfully pastoral and such a durable image in the history of the arts" he is reported to have said. The original photograph of the cow was chosen by Warhol's printer Gerard Malanga. The first rolls of wallpaper were printed in vivid pink on a bright yellow background and were such a hit that they were displayed in their own room at the Leo Castelli Gallery in 1966. A playful twist on his familiar themes of fame and glamour, they are a perfect illustration of Warhol's belief in transcendence through repetition.
Between 1966 and 1976 Warhol created four versions of the Cow Wallpaper. This poster is based upon the third variation, created for a major exhibition at New York's Whitney Museum in 1971. Please note that it is not a piece of the original wallpaper itself, though it was produced at the same time.
To historian and critic Barbara Rose, these wallpaper designs served as a commentary on the nature of art collecting and the character of the institutions where art is displayed. In a review of Warhol's 1971 retrospective show at the Whitney, she wrote that cows are a common subject of genre paintings that people display in their homes, and that the wallpaper made the Whitney look like "a boutique". She continued: "Of course the museum has been a boutique for a long time, and people have been treating paintings like wallpaper even longer. But Andy spells it out with his usual cruel clarity."
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