Sunday, 3 August 2008

2 (or 3) x Warhol

Sofu Teshigahara, founder of the Sogetsu School, and pop artist Andy Warhol met in Japan in the 1970's. It was probably when Warhol visited Japan in 1974. A Warhol painting retrospective took place at the Daimaru Department Store in Tokyo. The same year Warhol created a silkscreen suite called Flowers (Hand-Colored), based on Japanese Ikebana. The 10 prints in the suite are rarely seen. Earlier this year a print of a sunflower that I think belong to this suite was sold at an auction house in Sweden. It looks very Sogetsu to me.

Two years later, in 1976, Warhol made a portrait of Sofu. A gallery owner in New York once told me that Warhol made quite a few portraits of friends and clients. Some were painted in the vibrant style of his well known screenprints of famous people. I guess the Sofu portrait must be in this category as I don't think it is printed. I'm not sure though. Please respond if you know more about this. I just love this portrait!

In the 1980's Warhol returned to Japanese flowers for inspiration. A body of work called Kiku, the Japanese word for chrysanthemum, was formally released at an exhibition held at The Gendai Hanga Center in Tokyo 1982-83.

The mutual admiration between Sofu and Warhol also resulted in an opportunity for the Sogetsu Pittsburgh Study Group to exhibit ikebana arrangements in the Warhol museum in Pittsburgh each year. O boy, would I like to be part of that study group! I guess it's for locals only. I'm adding their link so that you can visit their exhibitions.

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