Andy Warhol’s Kiku (1983) portfolio, Japanese for Chrysanthemum, was commissioned by Fujio Watanuki—patron of the arts and the Japanese avant-garde, and founder of the Gendai Hanga Center in Tokyo. The three Kiku prints are unusually small in scale, suited to the conventional size of Japanese living spaces.
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A series studying the Chrysanthemum flower, or in Japanese, Kiku, Warhol created 300 screen print portfolios of this motif in 1983. In 1983, Fujio Watanuki, a longstanding supporter of the Japanese avant-garde and founder of the Gendai Hanga Center in Tokyo, invited Warhol to create a new body of work inspired by Japanese flowers. The result is Kiku, a stunning series that centres on the chrysanthemum flower, or Kiku in Japanese. Warhol created 300 screen print portfolios with three prints in each portfolio. The artist also experimented with different colours and collaged layouts, resulting in unique pieces that did not form part of the final portfolio. The works were made in a uniquely small scale in order to suit the conventional size of Japanese living spaces.
The series is pure Pop Art as it unites the artist’s interests in repetition, bold graphic iconography and everyday imagery. Warhol went on to return to the subject of the flower in works such as Flower for Tacoma Dome and Daisy.
Kiku (F. & S. II.307) © Andy Warhol 1983
In this unconventionally small print portfolio, Warhol depicted the blossoming chrysanthemum flower across three screen prints. In his archetypal style, Warhol transformed the natural colouring of these blossoms, making them appear artificial and graphic. Particularly in Kiku (F. & S. II.307), the gradient background foregrounds Warhol’s considered outlining of the flower’s petals. Despite their small scale, the Kiku prints are dynamic and compelling.
Flowers (F. & S. II.6) © Andy Warhol 1964
Since the early days of his artistic career, Warhol depicted a wide variety of flowers. From his extensive Flowers series in the 1960s, to depictions of singular flowers in the 1980s, flowers are one of Warhol's most frequently revisited subjects. With his signature Pop palette, Warhol transforms the delicate flower into a bold two-dimensional presence in his prints.
Kiku (F. & S. II.309) © Andy Warhol 1983
This 1983 screen print series was commissioned by Fujio Watanuki, a proponent of the Japanese avant-garde and founder of the Gendai Hanga Center in Tokyo. Watanuki invited Warhol to create the Kiku series, signifying both Warhol’s global appeal and the artist’s interest in Japanese iconography in his own printing process.
Gems (F. & S. II.88) © Andy Warhol 1978