In Lamentation (F. & S. II.388) Andy Warhol replicates Martha Graham’s choreographed dance Lamentation from 1930. In the image, Graham leans to the left with a scarf over her head like the Virgin Mary. Warhol highlights her original costume colour of purple as the dominant colour in his own print, adding striking white and light blue outlines to delineate her face and other features. Graham was known for her ability to express emotion through movement. The solo performance, performed with a tubular piece of fabric, depicted grief.
Warhol produced Lamentation, and the larger series, Martha Graham, in 1986 in commemoration of the foundation of the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1926. The artist and dancer were very fond of each other, and Warhol produced these three images to support her company. To create the series, Warhol adapted Barbara Morgan’s iconic photographs of Graham taken in 1940. This usage of the most recognizable images of a figure was typical of Warhol throughout his career. The artist similarly used well-known photos of Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, and even Buzz Aldrin in his other screen prints.