Lillian Carter is a signed screen print made by the acclaimed Pop artist, Andy Warhol, in 1977. Coming in an edition size of 50, this print is one of Warhol’s rarest impressions as it is the only impression signed by both Warhol and the subject of the portrait, Lillian Carter, from the personal collection of Fred Hughes, who was the executor of the Warhol estate. The print shows a portrait of Lillian Carter, the mother of Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States who was in office from 1977 to 1981. The print can be seen alongside two prints of Jimmy Carter which were commissioned by the Democratic National Committee as part of Carter’s presidential campaign.
Lillian Carter was published to raise funds for Carter’s presidential campaign and having Warhol participate in the campaign meant that Carter was able to position himself as the progressive candidate and win over many young voters in New York who idolised Warhol due to his celebrity status and love of popular culture.
The portrait of Cater is more abstract than those of her son as the print is made up of blocks of colour which are layered over one another. In this composition, Warhol uses a mix of bright and bold colours, a signature element of the artist’s visual style, as well as thin sketch-like black gestural lines to delineate the woman’s features and sophisticated suit jacket. On Carter’s jacket at the bottom right of the composition is a badge of Jimmy Carter smiling. The tiny image on the badge resonates strongly with the grinning Jimmy Carter in Warhol’s own portraits of the politician.