Lot Details

Andy Warhol’s fascination with repetition is clear even in his earliest works. In "Happy Butterfly Day" (circa 1955), a rare watercolor utilizing offset lithography, Warhol is just beginning to explore the theme visually. Here, Warhol fills the sheet with butterflies, each individual creature distinct. Variations in markings, wing shape, size, and coloring make each insect unique, but their uniform arrangement in neat, even rows foreshadows the themes he went on to explore that later revolutionized the art world.

To create this image, Warhol cut the individual butterflies into gum erasers, which he then stamped at random. Once he found an arrangement that he liked, he created several impressions of the same image. He then individualized each impression with handcoloring. This image would later be reproduced on commercial folders as a promotion for Vanity Fair Lingerie in 1956. This print typifies Warhol's early work during his years as a commercial artist, characterized by a cartoonish, illustrative style. This piece is handcolored with washes of blush pink, vibrant yellow-orange and beige.

This particular piece was given by Warhol to a well-known figure in New York fashion, who later gave the work to its current owner.

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The seller has recorded the following condition for this lot:
Mat Burn
Area: Margin
Location: Overall
Notes: Minor mat burn around edges of the print, less than 0.5 inches into the page. See photos. Additional photos available upon request.
Also slight rippling on upper and lower edges of sheet.
Degree: Minor
Area: Verso, Other area
Notes: Toning overall on verso, concentrated in the center and lower left portion of the page. See photos. Additional photos available upon request.
Degree: Moderate

Definition Key
Image The central image area, composition, or focal point; the area inside the margins/plate marks.
Margin Areas bordering the central image, outside the plate marks, or the perimeter area.
Edge The farthest edge of the object.
Verso The reverse/back of the object.

Minor An existing condition which generally does not involve risk of loss.
Moderate Noticeable damage, increasing in severity and/or size; should be monitored or corrected by a conservator.
Major Distinct, recognizable damage; the stability of the work is questionable and risk is a factor. Requires the attention of a conservator.
Extreme Advanced and severe damage; work is insecure and at great risk.

  • Gift from Andy Warhol to a well-known figure in the New York fashion scene Gift from the aforementioned to current owner
  • Ships From: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 19 x 15.5 in. (48.26 x 39.37 cm.)
  • Framed Under: Glass
Accepted: Wire Transfer, Check
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