Tondo (Butterflies)
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2009

Reference URL

Tondo (Butterflies) 1955
  • Artist Rooms
‘Tondo’ is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art. In referring to an art historical term in the title, perhaps Warhol is beginning to contemplate his move beyond the commercial art stage to fine art. Typical of his work of the 1950s he has combined his blotted-line technique with vibrant colours. These were possibly added at one of his colouring parties, hosted at the fashionable Serendipity 3 café after its opening in 1954. He would encourage his friends – some of whom would have helped him create the original illustrations - to colour the works with an inventiveness that adds to their whimsical nature. This process looks forward to the production methods of Warhol’s legendary studio, the Factory, in the 1960s.

Glossary Open

Blotted-Line Technique

Andy Warhol first experimented with this form of print-making whilst a student and it would later characterise his commercial work of the 1950s. With two sheets of paper hinged together, a pencil drawing is made on one sheet which is subsequently traced over with ink. Whilst the ink is still wet the sheets of paper are pressed together, thus transferring the line. The result is a broken, yet apparently intuitive, line drawing.


A circular painting or relief sculpture.

Blotted-Line Technique, Tondo


  • Acc. No. AR00250
  • Medium Ink, graphite and dye on paper
  • Size 66.00 x 53.00 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008