Andy Warhol - Evening & Day Editions London Thursday, June 6, 2024 | Phillips
  • Moving beyond depictions of iconic figures, Camouflage of 1987, Warhol’s final print portfolio, contrasted the individuality of his typical portraiture with the uniformity of camouflage. Strongly associated with the armed forces, camouflage’s paradox of being a pattern of disguise that is simultaneously identifiable by the masses may have appealed to Warhol’s sensibilities towards brands and logos. The pattern bears further connotations of masculinity, landscape, and nationality, themes of which Warhol addressed throughout his prolific career in printmaking. In vivid hues of pink, crimson and tangerine, Camouflage boldly sabotages the traditional purpose of camouflage, eschewing the typical muted tones of green, brown, and grey. In this subversion, the pattern is transformed into something ironically conspicuous, obliterating its function. 


    As a contextually loaded but visually abstract pattern, Camouflage for Warhol was one of few instances where he indulged in abstraction. Through 1985 and 1986, which would be the final years of Warhol’s life, the artist and his studio were busy producing commissioned pieces, mainly portraits and adverts that were saleable, quintessentially-Warhol works. The Camouflage series, however, stands out as one of the few spontaneously conceived ideas that Warhol created in his final years. It also stands out from his oeuvre for its “all-over” nature, evocative of the field paintings of the momentous Abstract Expressionist artists that Warhol admired. Ronnie Cutrone, Warhol’s studio assistant, explained how Warhol sought to be an abstract artist: "The well-known artists who came directly before Andy were all abstract painters. They had the reputation that their art was the real art. So in Andy's psyche, abstract art was real art and what he did, or what any figurative person did for that matter, was not."


    Joan Mitchell, Room, 1981, Private Collection. Image/Artwork: © Estate of Joan Mitchell 

    “For Warhol, the art of deception, the fun of fooling people, mystifying, hiding, lying—camouflaging, if you will—was a compulsion, a strategy, and a camp.”
    —Bob Colacello

    Published posthumously, Camouflage further serves as a convenient metaphor for the enigma that was Andy Warhol. Notoriously elusive, Warhol frequently obscured details of his private life, for instance, he often feigned ignorance regarding art history, which he had formally studied since age eleven. Similarly, he would lie about where he was from; depending on the journalist who asked him, it might be Philadelphia, Cleveland, or Newport, Rhode Island (when really, it was Pittsburgh). Camouflage  can thus be viewed as an external projection of his internal insecurities, his very last portfolio of prints perhaps being one of his most personal. 


    Continuing Warhol’s legacy and building upon the history of artists modernising military camouflage garments, fashion designer Stephen Sprouse was permitted to use a print from Warhol’s Camouflage  portfolio in his Fall 1987 and Spring 1988 collections. The collection would be worn prominently by Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry, one of Warhol’s longstanding muses, who would also use an adapted Camouflage  print in the UK album art for her 1987 single “In Love with Love.” 


    Debbie Harry, 1988. Image: Brian Aris /
    • Literature

      Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann 408

    • Artist Biography

      Andy Warhol

      American • 1928 - 1987

      Andy Warhol was the leading exponent of the Pop Art movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects, such as Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

      Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably also a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.


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Camouflage (F. & S. 408)

Screenprint in colours, on Lenox Museum Board, the full sheet.
S. 96.7 x 96.7 cm (38 1/8 x 38 1/8 in.)
Signed by Fredrick W. Hughes (Executor of the Estate of Andy Warhol), titled, annotated 'REG. ED.' and numbered 62/80 in pencil on a stamped Certificate of Authenticity on the reverse, published by the artist (with his copyright ink stamp on the reverse), unframed.

Full Cataloguing

£10,000 - 15,000 

Sold for £13,970

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 6 - 7 June 2024