Painted in 1986, shortly before Warhol's untimely death in February 1987, Camouflage is for many reasons one of his most important series. In art historical terms, the paintings from this series, like the ones from the Oxidation series from 1978, can be seen to refer to Abstract Expressionism. Having deliberately mocked the Abstract Expressionist movement in some of his works of the 1960s, works such as Camouflage transform the raw elements of abstraction into a Pop medium and a fashion statement. In this way the Camouflage series not only escapes the serialisation of earlier repetitive works, but is also a testament to the artist's prolific output, his breadth of vision and his skill as a serious abstract painter.
Warhol cropped and selected areas from a forty inch sample of fabric netting purchased from an Army surplus store, so that whilst many of the works in this series have the same underlying pattern, the repetition of the pattern has certainly been manipulated in the silk-screening process. Together with the unique colour and paint application and differing canvas sizes, each work is quite different from the other.
Alternatively, we could read into the repetition of the camouflage motif the theme of disguise and 'blending in' - possibly referencing the artist's personal life within the fashion-conscious and celebrity society of New York in the 1980s. Indeed, the camouflage design was, with Warhol's approval, adopted by the fashion industry, and resulted in the production of the 'Sprouse' camouflage dress and camouflage trousers. There are many further obvious parallels between fashion design and camouflage as well as with the combinations of the impersonality and commercialism of Pop Art.