The screen print Watermelon (F. & S. II.199)by Andy Warhol focuses on a highly-stylized oblong watermelon. The green fruit sits on the left side of the canvas while a large purple shadow extends off the right edge of the frame. Warhol’s overdrawing gives detail to the fruit, which would otherwise be unrecognizable but for its unique oblong shape. Warhol rarely produced still lives, making this rendition unique in his oeuvre. The red rectangular background color patches give the appearance of paper, making the image appear to be almost a collage. Their off-kilter alignment gives a sense of whimsy and movement to the very static genre of still life.
Watermelonis the only example of a single fruit in Warhol’s 1979 series Space Fruit. The series, a collaboration with printmaker Rupert Jasen Smith, uses extreme lighting to cast long shadows over fruit which are then screen printed with overdrawing. In the larger series, Warhol experimented with the colour wheel. This image demonstrates both complimentary colours with the red and green, and analogous colours with red, purple, and pink. The medium, use of long shadows, and experimentation with the colour wheel all work to give this watermelon still life an other-worldly effect.