Printed in 1986, Sitting Bull (F. & S. II.376) is a signed screen print by Andy Warhol that depicts a portrait of Sitting Bull, the Native American Sioux Chief who led his people during years of resistance against US government policies. The print is rendered in vivid and bold colours, with the warm red of the Chief’s clothes contrasting against the cool blue used for his skin. Yellow and white gestural lines delineate Sitting Bull's aloof facial expression and stoic pose.
Sitting Bull (F. & S. II.376) is one of ten graphic screen prints that Warhol produced for his Cowboys And Indians series. In this series, Warhol takes archetypal figures that capture America’s romanticised vision of the American West. The print is based on an archival photo of the Sioux Chief who is renowned as being a hero of the Battle of Little Big Horn against the US. The vivid colouring of Sitting Bull, along with the light highlights that outline his figure give the traditional subject a modern twist. The use of colour here exemplifies how Warhol transforms historic figures into 20th century Pop Art icons.
In this print, Warhol draws attention to the distortion of history through popular culture, making an explicit reference to the way the American West is depicted in literature, film and television. The use of Warhol’s signature screen printing technique, developed as a means of mass-producing imagery to be widely distributed mirrors the way in which fabricated images have been disseminated and become symbolic of the American West.