THE NINETEEN SEVENTIES
Rainer Crone, Andy Warhol ( New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970), 30.
"The End of Painting". Excerpt.
The last group consists of the Flowers paintings, the Cow Wallpaper, and the floating Silver Clouds. The Flowers were produced in vast quantities and all different sizes, from miniature to wall-size (82"x162"), in the Factory. Warhol had found the original photo in a women's magazine; it had won second prize in a contest for the best snapshot taken by a housewife.
The Flowers were shown for the first time in November, 1964, in the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York. These pictures are not pure photographic reproductions as those preceding them were; the contours of the flowers were touched up by hand on the screen. These pictures are unique in Warhol's production by virtue of their meaningless image content -- a dubious honor shared only by the Cow Wallpaper and Silver Clouds in all of Warhol's oeuvre. They are and will remain strictly decorative, "upper wallpaper," 69 to use Henry Geldzahler's words. Anyone who detects dehumanizing tendencies in these images is misinterpreting them. Their banal, abstract form is a guage against which to measure Warhol's other work. Color is used strictly decoratively in these pictures, and the flowers are there to carry it -- it is their sole function. "I thought the French would probably like flowers because of Renoir and so on," 70 Warhol commented on his exhibition at Ileana Sonnabend in May 1965. He went on to say, "They're the fashion this year. They look like a cheap awning. They're terrific."71