Douc Langur is a print by Andy Warhol, produced as part of a series of prints of animals to illustrate the German-born, American pathologist and geneticist Kurt Benirschke’s book, Vanishing Animals from 1986. The book had 15 chapters that each focused on one animal of a critically endangered species, including Galapagos Tortoise, California Condor, Mouse Armadillo, Whooping Crane, Puerto Rican Parrot, Komodo Monitor, Paraguayan Peccary, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sommering Gazelle, Okapi, and the La Plata River Dolphin.
Warhol’s print features an image of a Douc Langur in his characteristic late graphic style. Set against a magenta backdrop, Warhol outlines the animal in yellow hand-drawn lines, contouring the original photographic image. Immortalising the image of an endangered animal into a Pop Art icon, using a vivid colour palette and simplified form, Warhol’s print is impossible to ignore and works as a permanent reminder of the species’ closeness to extinction.
As with is Endangered Species Series (1983), Warhol’s elevation of these animals to celebrity status through his distinct Pop Art style, helped to raise awareness and money for their protection. Combining his passion for environmental issues with his fascination with the mechanism of fame, this work makes clear the philanthropic power of Warhol’s screen prints.