With the icons of pop culture (Marilyn, see lots 204-5) and consumerism (Campbells Soup Cans) his principle subjects, it seems only consistent that Andy Warhol would eventually also depict the symbol of communism, another American obsession. Yet when in 1977 he turned to this other international trade mark, Hammer & Sickle, he treated it in more a subtle and conceptual way that any of the symbols of the capitalist west.
The Special Edition of Hammer & Sickle is arguably Warhol's most conceptual work in the print medium. By printing each screen individually and layering flat colour surfaces, shadows and lines on top of each other until arriving at last at the final, composite image, he made the work process visible, thus constructing and deconstructing the 'coat-of-arms of socialism.
It is not without irony that this series of prints is one of the smallest, most exclusive editions of Warhol's entire print oeuvre.