Andy Warhol’s 1979 signed screen print Pears (F. & S. II.203) depicts five pears in exaggerated shadow. Warhol began with a photograph of the fruits lit from the left to cast long shadows. He then added overdrawing and pops of colour to heighten some detail, while obscuring the fruit in others, abstracting them almost to the point of unrecognizability. Warhol contrasts his lime-green pears with a magenta background, revealing his interest in complementary colours and the colour wheel at this time.
The screen print Pears comes from the larger series, Space Fruit from the same year. A rare example of still life from the pop artists, Space Fruit draws on the long tradition of still life painting in the canon of western art. However, Warhol’s extreme lighting, collage, and abstraction make his fruit appear other-worldly, a product of outer-space. Throughout the series, Warhol experimented with the colour wheel, applying principles of saturation, hue, and complementary colours. This example is perhaps his most striking use of complementary colours, and pink and lime green stand opposite each other on the colour wheel.