#WARHOLWEDNESDAY - THE STAR
Andy Warhol’s ‘Myths’ (1981) is a portfolio of 10 prints that includes: The Star, The Witch, Howdy Doody, Uncle Sam, Superman, Mammy, Dracula, Santa Claus, The Shadow, and Mickey Mouse.
Several of these screenprints in colours are also embellished with diamond dust (The Star).
The subjects of the screen prints are famous figures from American films, history and culture. Almost all the prints were derived from existing images while he used costumed models to create the portraits of Santa Claus, Uncle Sam, and Mammy. Overall, the portfolio encompasses Warhol’s own life and the magic of 20th-century American pop culture.
The imagery presented in ‘Myths’ are nostalgic representations of America’s enchanted past. From the vibrant colouring to the icons’ dramatic expressions, each screenprint reflects American glamour and theatricality. These images are all taken from the 1940’s and 1950’s, when Warhol was a young boy, and experts see this portfolio as a vision of the artist’s childhood.
Whilst ‘The Star’ came from an existing image, a still of Greta Garbo in costume for her lead role in the 1931 film ‘Mata Hari’ directed by George Fitzmaurice, this image seems to break from the others in the series, since the character being portrayed – a wartime exotic dancer and spy – does not appear to be the work's subject, but rather Garbo herself - perhaps the greatest living movie star from the black-and-white era.
Warhol was a great cinephile, and had drawn illustrations of Garbo in the mid-1950s, before his gallery career took off, and is even said to have modelled his public persona on the reclusive film star, who retired from movie making in 1941. According to some reports Warhol met Garbo in 1950s at a picnic in New York. He is said to have given her a paper butterfly, which she later absent-mindedly crumpled up.