Printed in 1982, Dollar Sign (orange and red) is a signed screen print in colour by Andy Warhol. The print depicts a singular dollar sign rendered in a red and orange gradient verging towards yellow. The vibrant dollar sign contrasts with the plain white backdrop and occupies the bottom right of the composition. This print differs from others in the series, which tend to focus on more than one dollar sign.
Dollar Sign (orange and red) is part of the Dollar Sign series, one of Warhol’s most famous series. Adopting the symbol of US currency, this series encapsulates Warhol’s fascination with money and wealth which accompanies his interest in celebrity culture, as evidenced by his prints of famous stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. By using the dollar sign to form the basis of the series, Warhol highlights the value society puts on this simple symbol. Produced during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the series reflects the commercial boom that was occurring in America in the 1980s and came to define the Reagan era. The series therefore demonstrates Warhol’s ability to identify the zeitgeist and use it for his artistic purposes.
The print was made using a unique colour arrangement that turns the well-recognised symbol into an icon of 20th century popular culture. As opposed to his other series, like Ads or Campbell’s Soup, in which Warhol appropriates pre-existing images, the source image for this series was designed by Warhol himself, demonstrating his excellent draughtsmanship and skill as an illustrator. By making money the focus of the print, Warhol ironically draws explicit attention to the commodification of artworks.