Andy Warhol (real name Andrew Warhola) was an American artist famed for his painting, prints and films, and was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as Pop Art – he was often referred to as the ‘Pope of Pop’. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Andy Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and member of highly diverse social circles that included bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons. Famous works by Andy Warhol include Turquoise Marilyn, Campbell’s Soup, Car Crash, Gun, Mao, John Wayne, Flowers, Death and Disaster and Self Portrait.
One famous artwork by Warhol is Leo Castelli named after his art dealer of the same name. When Leo Castelli sold Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) it proved to be a critical moment for Andy Warhol as an artist. Other famous Pop Artists exhibited by Castelli included Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein.
In the early 1960s, Andy Warhol began to experiment with reproductions based on advertisements, newspaper headlines and other mass-produced images from American popular culture such as Campbell’s soup tins and Coca Cola bottles. In 1962, he began his series portraits of Marilyn Monroe, other subjects given similar treatment included Jackie Kennedy and Elvis Presley. The same year he took part in the New Realists exhibition in New York, which was the first important survey of Pop Art. He founded ‘The Factory,’ his studio during these years, and gathered around himself a wide range of artists, writers, musicians, and underground celebrities. Warhol also collaborated with rock bands such including The Velvet Underground and The Rolling Stones.
Andy Warhol’s ‘superstars’ were a clique of New York City personalities promoted by Andy Warhol and these personalities appeared in Warhol’s artworks and accompanied him in his social life. Among the most well-known of Warhol’s superstars was Edie Sedgwick, Viva, Candy Darling, Ultra Violet, Nico and International Velvet.
On June 3, 1968, radical feminist Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol in his Manhattan studio. Initially pronounced dead Andy Warhol survived but never fully recovered and for the rest of his life wore a corset to prevent his injuries from worsening.
The highest price ever paid for an Andy Warhol painting is $100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. The private transaction was reported in a 2009 article in The Economist, which described Warhol as the ‘bellwether of the art market.’
Work by Andy Warhol is held in the permanent collections of many museums such as the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, Art Institute of Chicago, Guggenheim New York and Bilbao, Spain, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York and National Mall, Washington DC.
Andy Warhol was a methodical and obsessive person with a great love of art, wealth and fame. He amassed a great fortune during his life time and achieved fame like no painter before him had achieved. He merged art, wealth and fame producing the Pop Artist Andy Warhol. Warhol famously asserted that ‘In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes’ and in doing so perhaps underestimated his own phenomenal, enduring success.
In 1987, in accordance with Warhol’s will, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts began and serves as the official Estate of Andy Warhol.