Cow Wallpaper

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Cow Wallpaper [Pink on Yellow]
Cow wallpaper - Andy Warhol.jpg
Artist Andy Warhol
Year 1966
Medium Screen print on wallpaper
Dimensions 46 by 28 inches (117 cm × 71 cm)
Location The Andy Warhol Museum, North Shore, Pittsburgh

Andy Warhol's Cow Wallpaper was the first in a series of wallpaper designs he created from the 1960s to the 1980s.

According to Warhol, the inspiration for the cow image came from art dealer Ivan Karp:

Another time he said, 'Why don't you paint some cows, they're so wonderfully pastoral and such a durable image in the history of the arts.' (Ivan talked like this.) I don't know how 'pastoral' he expected me to make them, but when he saw the huge cow heads — bright pink on a bright yellow background — that I was going to have made into rolls of wallpaper, he was shocked. But after a moment he exploded with: 'They're super-pastoral! They're ridiculous! They're blazingly bright and vulgar!' I mean, he loved those cows and for my next show we papered all the walls in the gallery with them.[1]

The show Warhol refers to is his April, 1966 show at the Leo Castelli Gallery, which consisted only of Cow Wallpaper in one room, and a second room with Warhol's silver helium-filled Clouds.[2]

The historian and critic Barbara Rose interpreted Cow Wallpaper as a commentary on the nature of art collecting and the character of the institutions where art is displayed. In a review of Warhol's 1971 retrospective show at the Whitney, she observed that cows are a common subject of genre paintings that people display in their homes, and that the wallpaper made the Whitney look like "a boutique." She continued, "Of course the museum has been a boutique for a long time, and people have been treating paintings like wallpaper even longer. But Andy spells it out with his usual cruel clarity."[3]


  1. ^ Warhol, Andy; Hackett, Pat (1980). POPism: The Warhol 60s. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 18. ISBN 9780151730957.
  2. ^ "Andy Warhol". Castelli Gallery. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  3. ^ Rose, Barbara (31 May 1971). "In Andy Warhol's Aluminum Foil, We Have All Been Reflected". New York Magazine. p. 55. ISSN 0028-7369.

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