Andy Warhol

'The Runaway Pigeon' (1953)

About this artwork

Throughout his career Warhol created numerous artist books based on his drawings. However, he also designed covers for other authors. This drawing is one of several Warhol completed as a study for the cover of a crime novel by Leslie Edgley called ‘The Runaway Pigeon’ (titled ‘Diamonds Spell Death’ outside America). The story involves a heist in a diamond merchants followed by a chase across several American states. This illustration combines marbleised paper, which Warhol was experimenting with at this time, and his blotted-line technique. He has also included a cut-out shape of a figure that appears to be running, although it also resembles the line drawn around dead bodies at crime scenes. The dark marbleised background adds to the ominous feeling.

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  • title: 'The Runaway Pigeon'
  • accession number: AR00244
  • artist: Andy WarholAmerican (1928 - 1987)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1953
  • measurements: 27.20 x 23.70 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was born 'Andrew Warhola' to Slovakian immigrant parents living in Pittsburgh in America. Warhol's subject matter was taken from popular culture, in the form of advertising, comics, magazines and packaging. He was able to produce his works quickly by transferring images onto canvas or paper through photography and screenprinting, sometimes with the help of assistants. Warhol stated that he wanted to make works that showed no trace of having been produced by hand. His interest in mass production reflected the fast-developing consumer culture he recognised in America. His New York studio, 'The Factory,' became a popular meeting place for artists, drop-outs, celebrities and bands.