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and Sickle

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Critical Review

Presented as still life studies, Warhol’s Hammer and Sickle portfolios appropriate this communist symbol through mass production methods. The subject stems from a visit to Italy in the 1970s where Warhol was exposed to urban graffiti, much of which featured the Communist image of the hammer and sickle. The image had been reproduced in this way over and over and Warhol decided to use it too, appropriating it to create mass-produced imagery.

Warhol worked by sourcing books depicting the symbol, which were flat in appearance, and developed the concept of producing an image that more closely resembled a still life with tools brought from a hardware shop. Warhol arranged the tools into various positions and his then assistant, Ronnie Cuttrone photographed them.

"To Andy, they were an extension of the classic still life. For years I had been photographing still lifes for Andy… he loved to experiment and update classical themes. For him, it was the best part of making art.” - Ronnie Cutrone.

Why is the Hammer and Sickle collection important?

These portfolios give a fascinating insight into Warhol’s print making methods and techniques since it is the only published print series to detail the stages of the print making process. This may have been due to the fact that the Hammer and Sickle series marks Warhol’s new partnership with printmaker Rupert Jasen Smith.

Both of the Hammer and Sickle portfolios were screen prints in colour produced on Strathmore Bristol paper, made from cotton. Each print is signed and numbered in pencil. Hammer and Sickle from a print run of 50 (plus artist proofs, printer’s proofs and one hors commerce (meaning ‘not to sell’) and the second which is the special edition portfolio comprising of just 10 screen prints on Strathmore Bristol paper, each from a small print run of 10 limited edition multiples.

Warhol uses the simplicity of the overtly recognisable and symbolic Communist emblem where we see the hammer and sickle overlapping each other like an ‘X’, and the iconoclastic colours of Soviet propaganda – red, white and black - to address ideological, political and social issues circulating through mass-produced imagery.

How do I buy a Hammer and Sickle print?

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How can I sell my Hammer and Sickle print?

If you're looking to sell art by Andy Warhol, click the link and we can help. We employ a number of techniques and practices in order to give a realistic and achievable valuation on any art listed on myartbroker.com. We analyse the demand for the work in question, take into consideration previous sales and auction valuations, we assess the current gallery valuation and monitor the current deals taking place via MyArtBroker every day. We regularly advise sellers on a price bracket for their artwork completely free of charge.