You may have read our post on the creative ways in which John Waters expresses his love for Christmas. We’d all like to receive one of the Christmas cards the Hairspray filmmaker has designed himself every year since 1964, but did you know that another famous creator, one also perceived as eccentric and possessed of his very own concepts of taste, embraced the season with equal artistic vigor? “Andy Warhol’s fondness for Campbell’s Soup cans is well documented,” writes Jennifer M. Wood at Mental Floss. “Less well known but equally ardent was his love of the holiday season. Yes, from poinsettias to Santa hats, the enigmatic artist who promised we’d all have our 15 minutes of fame spent much of the 1950s working as a commercial illustrator specializing in blotted line drawings, creating everything from shoe advertisements to greeting cards.”
The article goes on to display the fruits of Warhol’s professional and personal interest in Christmas, which ran his personal gamut of both technique and visual sensibility. At the top, we have his simple 1954 ink-and-paper drawing of a “Christmas Fairy,” bearing the greeting “Merry Christmas to you.” Just above, you can see his color rendering, from three years later, of a Christmas ornament. Wood reports that such works went up for sale at two events this year from fine-art auction house Christie’s: “‘Warholiday,’ a pop-up event at the San Francisco Mulberry Store [which] featured 36 works by the late, great artist, some of them never-before-seen and all of them for sale,” and “‘A Christmas Thing,’ an online-only auction that featured 100 original photos, prints, and drawings from the master of Pop Art” benefiting The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.” And as we can call no presentation of Warhol’s work complete, even on Christmas Eve, without the inclusion of something that will get a viewer or two asking whether it counts as art at all, behold his 1981 Polaroid of Santa Claus:
Find more Andy Warhol Christmas-themed art at Mental Floss.
Andy Warhol Creates Album Covers for Jazz Legends Thelonious Monk, Count Basie & Kenny Burrell
Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol Demystify Their Pop Art in Vintage 1966 Film
John Waters Makes Handmade Christmas Cards, Says the “Whole Purpose of Life is Christmas”
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, literature, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Facebook page.
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