Monday, April 25, 2011

“The pop idea was that anybody could do anything” Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol (Andrew Warhola) was born on 6 August 1928 in Pittsburgh. His parents emigrated from what is known today as Slovakia. Andy received his first camera when he was 9 and his interest in photography began to develop. He studied at Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1945 to 1949 and got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Pictorial Design.

After graduation, Andy Warhol went to New York and started a career as a commercial illustrator in Glamour magazine. He rapidly made a name for himself and became one of the most successful commercial illustrators of the 1950’s.

In the late 50’s, he began to make his first pop paintings inspired by comics and commercials.

Campbell soup
During the 1960’s, he painted iconic American products such as the Campbell’s Soup cans, also referred to as the 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans. This work of art is composed of 32 canvases depicting a Campbell’s Soup can. Each canvas differs from the others, representing one of the 32 varieties of soup that the company offered at the time.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe was a famous American actress, model and singer who overdosed in 1962 when she was only 36. At the same time, Andy Warhol was very well-known for his Pop-Art. Marilyn’s death also marked Warhol’s first use of silkscreen printing or screen-printed paintings. That is, Warhol painted on photographs glued onto silkscreen. He said: "It was all so simple quick and chancy. I was thrilled with it. When Marilyn Monroe happened to die that month, I got the idea to make screens of her beautiful face the first Marilyn’s". He then made a large series of portraits of Marilyn.

In the 1960’s he also devoted time to the realization of films: Empire (1964), The Chelsea Girls (1966), and the Screen Tests (1964-66). Warhol opened his first studio in New-York in 1964 for an exhibition of sculptures. It was called ‘The Factory’ and rapidly became the place to be.

The 1970’s saw the large-scale publication of books about Pop Art in which Andy Warhol gives his own view on it. By that time he had reached what we might call ‘the height of his fame’ and the ‘commercial’ period because of the abundance of commissioned painted portraits for wealthy people. The popularity of his ‘celebrity portraits’ enabled him to have a comfortable financial situation.

During the 1980’s, Andy Warhol regained critical success thanks to his collaboration with artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Keith Haring. By then he had also started to work as a TV producer (Andy Warhol’s T.V. or the Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes). He was of course still very active as a painter and towards the end of his life he created a series of paintings representing The Last Supper. These paintings were part of his last exhibition which took place in Milan in 1987. A month later, the artist died after suffering a cardiac arrest at the age of 58 years old.
Warhol may be one of the most respected artists of all times, we should keep in mind that this was not always the case.

Justine Dumont & Emmanuel Duquesne

No comments: