Andy Warhol American, 1928-1987

"If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it."


In 1960, Warhol turned his attention to the pop art movement, which began in Britain in the mid-1950s. Everyday life inspired pop artists, and their source material became mass-produced products and commercial artifacts of daily life; commercial products entered into the highly valued fine art space. In 1961, Warhol created his first pop paintings, which were based on comics and ads. Warhol’s 1961 Coca-Cola [2] is a pivotal piece in his career, evidence that his transition from hand-painted works to silkscreens did not happen suddenly. The black and gray composition first sketched then hand painted is a blend of both pop and abstraction, which he turned away from at the beginning of his career before experimenting with it again in the 1980s.

 

Warhol turned to perhaps his most notable style—photographic silkscreen printing—in 1962. This commercial process allowed him to easily reproduce the images that he appropriated from popular culture. Among Warhol’s first photographic silkscreen works are his paintings of Marilyn Monroe made from a production still from the 1953 film Niagara. In 1962, he began a large series of celebrity portraits, featuring Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor. Warhol made his series of Campbell’s Soup Cans in 1962 and exhibited them the same year in his first solo pop art exhibition at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.