Andy Warhol’s Pop Art Christmas Cards

An Andy Warhol Angel 

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“Andy was a Catholic, the ethic ran through his bones/

He lived alone with his mother, collecting gossip and toys/

Every Sunday when he went to church/

He’d kneel in his pew and he’d say/

“It’s just work, all that matters is work.” 

-Lou Reed, from Songs for Drella

 

It’s true. Pop artist Andy Warhol, the legendary, ironically blank scenester, was also a devoutly religious man. He attended church faithfully, volunteered in soup kitchens, and made a late body of Christian themed works that have been largely overlooked by the hostilely secular art world.

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Warhol Meets Pope John Paul II, 1980 

As a person of faith, Warhol used his artistic skills to celebrate Christmas. Before Andy found fame in the gallery scene, he was a successful commercial artist. From 1956-1962 he produced box sets of Christmas cards sold by Tiffany’s. He rendered these as quirky doodles, far removed from the slick screen  prints he’s known for.

Here are just a few examples of Warhol’s holiday spirit.

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Christmas

Christmas

Christmas Cards 

 

As I state in my book, Remodern America: How the Renewal of the Arts Will Change the Course of Western Civilization, Warhol left a mixed legacy:

“As the prophet of the Postmodern, Warhol was another harbinger of the mess of a culture we are currently slogging through. It’s not his fault. Do you blame a reporter for the news he covers? The cultural traits Warhol portrayed didn’t start with him. He fulfilled the role of the artist giving us foresight into the culture’s momentum.”

1978: Truman Capote and Andy Warhol Celebrate the Season

Maybe a Little Too High Spirited 

But I like to think behind the facade of celebrity and detachment, there was the real human Andy, who celebrated Christ’s birth with sincere joy.

Merry Christmas!

An Andy Warhol Nativity 

 

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ARTISTS: Salvador Dali’s Surreal Christmas Cards

Ho Ho Ho my Gosh; ‘Tis the Season for Surrealism 

In 1960, before the visuals arts had withdrawn into their current status of hostile, insular irrelevance, greeting card benchmark Hallmark had an idea to bring people some culture for Christmas. 50 artists were featured on Hallmark Christmas cards, with the noble intention of sharing some Modern masters with the mass market. Along with staples like Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives, more avant-garde figures like Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Paul Cezanne were presented.

One of the artists recruited was Surrealist Salvador Dali. The choice was not as strange as it might seem. He had already created a Christmas image for the cover of Vogue in 1948.

Dali’s Christmas Vogue Cover

For a flat fee of $15,000.00 and promises of complete artistic control, Dali produced a series of Yuletide images. Unfortunately, the executives at Hallmark decided he went a little TOO cultural for the tastes of the time, and only a few of his tamer paintings were used.

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Two of the Dali Images used: Tame compared to the others

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But now, thanks to the magic of the internet, we can enjoy some surrealism for the season. Here are some of Salvador Dali’s unused Christmas card pictures.

 

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Merry Christmas!

 

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