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In 1980/81 Warhol was also at work on a series of editioned screenprints, conceived to reflect and caricature 20th-century American culture through a group of national symbols. Among the 10 fictional archetypes in the Myths series are Uncle Sam, the personification of the American government; children's characters like Mickey House; and fairy tale figures like the Wicked Witch. Santa Claus is a Polaroid study of Warhol's version of Father Christmas from the Myths series. This is one of his many studies of an actor dressed in the traditional white wig and beard and red costume. He is not the benign, affectionate character of author Clement Moore, illustrator Thomas Nast or artist Haddon Sundblom; rather, Warhol's Santa is the mystifying imposter that children of Warhol's generation met on holiday visits to local department stores. His mythic persona has faded like childhood wonder.
from Acton, A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame: Twentieth Century (Notre Dame, 2019)