Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Polar Bear 38238


Andy Warhol (Andrew Warhola) (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 8/6/1928 - 2/22/1987, New York, New York)


Polar Bear

Creation Date



late 20th century


23 1/4 x 31 3/4 in. (59.06 x 80.65 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

graphite on hmp paper

Credit Line

Gift of Jeremy T. Goldsmith of the Class of 2004 and Donald A. Goldsmith of the Class of 1965 and their Greenacres Acquisition Fund


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

Warhol’s early screen-prints typically de-contextualized everyday objects to void their meaning and gave them new life as clichés of media culture. Warhol then carried this treatment to portraits of celebrities and subjects of political sensitivity that rejected customary interpretations and judgments. This drawing is a preparatory study for the screen-print portfolio Endangered Species, which was published in 1983 by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in support of animals protected by the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although a Polar Bear does not appear—and was not added to the ESA until 2008—scholars believe that Warhol drew (most likely traced from a photographic image) this image as he was exploring its possible use in the series. Such tracings were a necessary step in preparation of the screens used for printing. The drawing of the polar bear is all the more fascinating for the fact that this image did not make the cut.

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