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The genesis of the “Hammer and Sickle” series was sparked after Warhol’s trip to Italy in 1976 where he toured the series Ladies and Gentlemen (also referred to as the drag queen series). Left wing journalists there embraced the issues tackled in that collection. Warhol noted the depiction of the hammer and sickle all over Italy in the form of graffiti. Under communist rule, the image found on the soviet flag represented the union of industrial and farm workers and their interests. Since Italy had been democratic following WWII, Warhol saw this iconography as more of a pop culture symbol than a political one. Upon returning to New York, he created “Hammer and Sickle”, using his own still life of pieces he bought on Canal Street.
Screenprint on Strathmore Bristol Paper. Numbered and signed in pencil on front.