Happy Butterfly Day

Happy Butterfly Day, Linda. Andy Warhol, circa 1955


Butterfly Day


This significant print (actually an offset lithograph, uniquely hand colored with watercolor and ink) demonstrates Andy Warhol‘s early interest in the repetition of a similar image – a characteristic which would define much of his later work. Warhol created this print in the mid 1950s, and then uniquely hand colored and dedicated it. Warhol’s Butterflies (also called Happy Butterfly Day) exemplifies the marvelous interplay between repetition and variation, facsimile and originality in the artist’s work – themes that he would reprise later on. It is typical of Warhol’s Pre-Pop style, when he was designing promotional materials, working for women’s magazines like Glamour (his first assignment in New York) and creating textiles. At that time he would create patterns of simple motifs: flowers, bugs, or butterflies, for example – and then gift hand colored copies to friends and prospective employers around the city. Sometimes, he would even transform the images into postcards, greeting cards, or miniature books before distributing them. In 1958. Warhol even used the butterfly print as a design for a promotional folder he created for Vanity Fair Lingerie.

To create the butterfly designs, Andy would carve out the individual motifs in gum erasers and stamp them randomly on paper, before finally transforming the image into a print. Warhol then colored the design by hand in watercolor, as he did in this work, which is also hand signed and uniquely dedicated to Linda. It is sold in the owner’s original vintage frame.

Happy Butterfly Day Linda was a gift from Warhol to publicist Linda de Refler who worked at the New York Times in the fashion department in the Sixties. She later married William N. Wallace, a longtime sports reporter for the Times.


To see the connection with previous links, please check out The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page:



Vanity Fair Lingerie website:



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