A-to-Z Index

Kyoto, Japan

July 3rd, 1956

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto, Japan—July 3rd, 1956

Andy Warhol

Offset lithograph on paper
16 1/2 x 13 1/2 in.; 41.9 x 34.3 cm.

Gift of Charles Lisanby

This lithograph, done in 1956, is based on a drawing that Andy Warhol did during his trip around the world with Charles from June 16th to August 12th of the same year. According to Charles, Andy (who had previously never been outside of the country) spent their whole vacation fervently sketching the various people and places that he was seeing for the first time. “He never stopped”, Charles remembers, “I have a photograph somewhere…an old 8mm movie of him sketching and being surrounded by monks or in Bali and the little children came to watch what he was doing”. These people with whom Andy was so enthralled were equally interested in the small man shuffling around the city sketching them.

This print is a classic example of Andy’s unique approach to drawing. Instead of carefully considering his subject and building it gradually in short, thoughtful strokes, Andy would draw quickly and indiscriminately.

As Charles remembers,

“Everything was almost autographic. He would just draw like that in one line, in one almost continuous line. What interested me was almost not what he did draw but what he didn’t draw, what he left out. And that is really the secret of them”.

Warhol aimed to develop a drawing style that was both distinctive and expressive of his subjects’ inner character—“he wanted his line to be as meaningful as Ben Shahn’s line was meaningful”. In the case of these three geishas, the solidity of the line—especially in the modeling of their faces—imbues them with a sense of dignity and solemnity that is reflective of their way of life.