Black Flowers, 1964
Polymer paint silk-screened on canvas
24 x 24 inches
Collection of Gordon Locksley and George T. Shea
At the end of 1963, Warhol moved his studio into a silver-painted loft in Manhattan that became known as The Factory. The rapid production of his "Flowers" series, begun the following year, lent credence to the studio's new name, with Warhol and his assistants churning out huge numbers of screen-printed paintings. The results filled the walls of the prestigious Leo Castelli Gallery in 1964.
All the canvases displayed at Leo Castelli quickly sold out, marking the definitive arrival of Pop and Andy Warhol on the art scene.
The photo used in this series originally appeared in Modern Photography magazine. The free-floating quality of the blossoms drew comparisons with Monet's Water Lilies, and the use of flowers as a subject tied Warhol to a long-standing tradition in art history. While this all-black version of Flowers evokes the dark subjects of Warhol's "Death and Disaster Series" (such as the image from "Little Electric Chair Series" on view in this gallery), most of the "Flowers" works explode with bright colors.