'A Hand of Bridge'
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2009

Reference URL

'A Hand of Bridge' 1953
  • Artist Rooms
This drawing shows a preliminary design for the first edition copy of Samuel Barber’s opera, ‘A Hand of Bridge’, published by G. Schirmer in 1961. The extremely short opera centres on two couples who are playing bridge, with each character in turn singing a fantasised monologue. Composed by Barber, the text was written by his lifelong friend, Gian Carlo Menotti and the opera was first performed at the ‘Festival of Two Worlds’ in Spoleto, Italy, in June 1959. This drawing is typical of Warhol’s commercial illustrations, with his blotted-line technique combined with vibrant colouring. The calligraphy was almost certainly added by Warhol’s mother, Julia, who regularly assisted with her son’s illustrations, adding colour and calligraphy, and even signing his name.

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.


Decorative handwriting

Marbled Paper

Blotted-Line Technique, Calligraphy, Marbled Paper


  • Acc. No. AR00245
  • Medium Ink, graphite and dye on paper
  • Size 32.00 x 23.80 cm (framed: 58.40 x 35.60 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