Lot Details

For his now legendary first show at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia, PA in 1965, Andy Warhol covered the museum walls with sheets of S&H Green Stamps prints. This historic exhibition was organized for the Philadelphia ICA by its new curator, Sam Green, who until a few months earlier had been a frequenter of Warhol’s Factory and a young gallery director at Dick Bellamy’s legendary Green Gallery in New York. Warhol had made several paintings with S&H Green Stamps as a motif in 1962 and one of these works was included in the ICA exhibition, but it was primarily as a clever nod to the resourceful young curator that Warhol chose to use the image again as the invitation for the show. Green seized the opportunity, and had 6,000 copies of the invitation printed, an extravagant number at that time, given that the space could hold only 300, and used some of those that were not mailed out as wallpaper, and as the backdrop for pre-exhibition publicity photos. Then, on the day of the opening, Green made a grand entrance alongside Warhol and Edie Sedgwick wearing a tie silk-screened with the same S & H Green Stamp motif.

This folded print has 5 horizontal folds and 2 vertical folds. Although they were published in a limited edition of 6,000, far fewer original invitations are extant nearly half a century on, exactly because they were invitations that many discarded after receiving, making the remaining prints collectors items.

This iconic print is fully referenced in the catalogue raisonne of Andy Warhol's works on paper.

S&H Green Stamps was a 1950s coupon system whereby consumers would receive stamps in exchange for purchasing gas and other everyday goods. After collecting so many stamps, the consumer would redeem them for various products. Coming from a lower income family in Pittsburgh, Warhol was always intrigued with the idea that you could get something for free. The S&H coupon program was an easily recognizable staple of life in middle America for several decades - from the 1950s into the 1970s - and many children growing up in that era remember their mothers diligently licking the back of the S&H stickers and pasting them onto a coupon book to be redeemed for free household goods. Representing and commenting on American consumerism in his prints, Warhol turned recognizable images, like the S&H Green Stamps, into iconic Pop imagery.

Own an uncommon piece of Sixties Pop Art history as well as a nostalgic symbol of middle American consumer culture of the mid-Sixties!

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Publication: Pop Impressions Europe/USA: Prints and Multiples from the Museum of Modern Art, Exhibition Catalogue, Wendy Weitman, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1999
Catalogue Raisonné: 11.9, Feldman & Schellman
No condition report has been added for this lot. Please contact the specialist for further information.
Exhibition:
Pop Impressions Europe/USA, Museum of Modern Art, February 18-May 18, 1999 [another impression]
  • Pickup Location: New York, USA
  • Shipping Dimensions: 23 x 22.65 in. (58.42 x 57.53 cm.)
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