Andy Warhol’s Santa Claus: Naughty and Nice

Christmas is when you have to go to the bank and get crisp money to put in envelopes from the stationery store for tips. After you tip the doorman, he goes on sick leave or quits …”                                           -Andy Warhol, 1977

The quote makes Warhol sound a bit like Scrooge but, by 1977, Warhol had a giant bank account and had created some of the most wonderful artwork the world has seen…which looks like the work of someone who loved Christmas.


The holidays were pretty meager for Warhol when he was a child, sometimes getting just an orange for Christmas. As Byzantine Catholics, the family celebrated Christmas on January 6, after all the hoopla had died down.


As an adult, Warhol really got into the spirit of the holiday—which is all things Warhol relished; it’s kitsch, commercial and personified by a Pop idol—Santa.


Andy Warhol’s Christmas Cards

Every year, since 1954, the Museum of Modern Art has chosen Christmas Card designs by the world’s greatest artists for its retail store for the holiday season. Andy Warhol, Picasso and Robert Indiana are among the many artist’s who created special cards for MoMA.


Warhol also did a lot of work for Tiffany’s and, in 1956 he was commissioned to do a Christmas card. The simple and elegant card that he created was so successful that Tiffany’s published a Warhol card every year through 1962.


The Christmas designs that Warhol created…and there were many… were executed with such care that makes it very apparent that Andy Warhol had a soft spot for Christmas. In December of 2014, Christie’s held a Warholiday sale of Warhol’s holiday cards, drawings and photographs.


Andy Warhol and Santa Claus

Andy Warhol created a portfolio of ten prints for his Myth series, each depicting an imaginary icon that was both famous and commercially successful. The Myth series included Superman, Uncle Sam, Mickey Mouse, Dracula, The Star (Greta Garbo as Mata Hari) and, of course, Santa Claus.


Warhol often dressed as Santa on Christmas, had his friends dress up as  Santa and took photos of department store Santas. The Santa in the Myth series was taken from a Polaroid of  a department store Santa…maybe a little more naughty or mischievous than the Hallmark Santa…but still iconic and, oh, so Warhol.


Santa Claus and Other Works by Andy Warhol at VFA

Santa Claus, sprinkled with diamond dust, of course, is for sale at VFA. Please contact us if you would like more information about Santa Claus or any of the other Andy Warhol art for sale at VFA.

December 4, 2017
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