Warhol: S + H Green Stamps poster

Andy Warhol
S + H Green Stamps
22 ¾ x 22 ¾ inches
Offset print on paper
Philadelphia ICA, 1965

A perfectly preserved copy of the folded poster invitation Warhol created for his first museum exhibition. The exhibition was organized for the Philadelphia ICA by its new curator, Sam Green, who until a few months earlier had been a frequenter of Warhol’s Factory and a young gallery director at Dick Bellamy’s legendary Green Gallery in New York. That Green and the gallery had the same name was purely coincidental, but Green was happy to let people think he owned the place and the famously shy Bellamy didn’t mind either if it meant he was called upon less often to leave his back office and schmooze with the clientele. Green’s gregariousness, combined with the impression he gave of being a young gallery owner, rather than mere employee, allowed him to advance quickly in art and society circles and this in turn helped him get the ICA job while still only 25-years-old.

Warhol had made several paintings with S+H Green Stamps as a motif in 1962 and one of these works was included in the ICA exhibition, but it was primarily as a sly nod to the resourceful young curator that Warhol chose to use the image again as the invitation for the show. Green seized the opportunity and with his natural gift for self-promotion, used it for all it was worth. He had 6,000 copies of the invitation printed, an extravagant number, given that the space could hold only 300, and used some of those that were not mailed out as wallpaper, and as the backdrop for pre-exhibition publicity photos. Then, on the day of the opening, Green made a grand entrance alongside Warhol and Edie Sedgwick wearing a tie silk-screened with the same S+H Green Stamp motif.
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