Andy Warhol

August 22, 2011

Considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol is the pioneer of Pop Art and an American cultural icon who has inspired generations of visual, musical, and experimental artists. Warhol used printmaking as the primary medium for his works, often choosing glamorous celebrities and cultural icons as his muses. His lifelong obsession with popular culture began with childhood visits to the movies in his native Pittsburgh, where he was born in 1926 to Eastern European immigrant parents. Encouraged by his parents, especially his mother, a skilled artist in her own right, Warhol attended free art classes at the Carnegie Institute and eventually majored in Pictorial Design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). In 1949, he moved to New York and quickly found success with Glamour magazine. Throughout the 1950s, his illustrations appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and NBC, earning him awards from the Art Directors Club and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. His early financial success allowed him the freedom to focus on painting, and in 1962, he achieved his first Los Angeles solo exhibition, Campbell’s Soup Cans. During this period, Warhol made over 600 experimental films – both provocative and critically acclaimed – as well as his large-scale sculpture of product boxes, including Brillo Boxes, Heinz Boxes, and Kellogg’s Boxes (1964).

By the mid-1960s, Warhol was now an international celebrity, and the art and entertainment milieu congregated at the Factory, his silver-painted studio space and epicenter of in-crowd festivities. In addition to producing The Velvet Underground and co-designing an album cover for The Rolling Stones, Warhol continued producing screenprints of celebrities and wealthy socialites, often at their request, including Mick Jagger, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and Marilyn Monroe. Constantly eager to experiment with other mediums, Warhol transformed some of his most iconic paintings into wallpaper, including Mao (1974) and Self-Portrait (1978). He also published many successful books, hosted fashion and culture talk shows on MTV, moonlighted as a fashion model, and started his own magazine, Interview, which remains in publication today.

His thirty-year pictorial survey of our obsession and glamorization of popular culture, however, survives as his most enduring contribution to modern and contemporary art. LAMA has sold many of these works by Andy Warhol over the years, including Flowers (1971), Mao (1972), Mick Jagger (1975), Space Fruit (1979), and Myths (1981). In addition, LAMA established and still holds a world record for the Marilyn (#28) print, Lot 101 in the June 2007 Auction, realizing $144,000.

“Andy Warhol Biography.” The Andy Warhol Museum. Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2012.

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