Andy Warhol, original name Andrew Warhola, (born August 6, 1928, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.—died February 22, 1987, New York, New York), American artist and filmmaker, an initiator and leading exponent of the Pop art movement of the 1960s whose mass-produced art apotheosized the supposed banality of the commercial culture of the United States. An adroit self-publicist, he projected a concept of the artist as an impersonal, even vacuous, figure who is nevertheless a successful celebrity, businessman, and social climber.
Warhol graduated in 1949 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), Pittsburgh, with a degree in pictorial design. He then went to New York City, where he worked as a commercial illustrator for about a decade.
Warhol began painting in the late 1950s and received sudden notoriety in 1962, when he exhibited paintings of Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and wooden replicas of Brillo soap pad boxes. By 1963 he was mass-producing these purposely banal images of consumer goods by means of photographic silkscreen prints, and he then began printing endless variations of portraits of celebrities in garish colours
As the 1960s progressed, Warhol devoted more of his energy to filmmaking. Usually classed as underground films, such motion pictures of his as The Chelsea Girls (1966), Eat (1963), My Hustler (1965), and Blue Movie (1969) are known for their inventive eroticism, plotless boredom, and inordinate length (up to 25 hours). Other movies include Poor Little Rich Girl (1965) and Lupe (1966), both of which featured Edie Sedgwick.
In 1968 Warhol was shot and nearly killed by Valerie Solanas, one of an assemblage of underground film and rock music stars, assorted hangers-on, and social curiosities who frequented his studio, known as the Factory. (The incident is depicted in the 1996 film I Shot Andy Warhol.)
By the beginning of the 1960s, pop art was an experimental form that several artists were independently adopting; some of these pioneers, such as Roy Lichtenstein, would later become synonymous with the movement. Warhol, who would become famous as the "Pope of Pop", turned to this new style, where popular subjects could be part of the artist's palette. Warhol's first pop art paintings were displayed in April 1961, serving as the backdrop for New York Department Store Bonwit Teller's window display. This was the same stage his Pop Art contemporaries Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and Robert Rauschenberg had also once graced.
On November 23, 1961, Warhol wrote Latow a check for $50 which, according to the 2009 Warhol biography, Pop, The Genius of Warhol, was payment for coming up with the idea of the soup cans as subject matter. For his first major exhibition, Warhol painted his famous cans of Campbell's soup, which he claimed to have had for lunch for most of his life. A 1964 Large Campbell's Soup Can was sold in a 2007 Sotheby's auction to a South American collector for £5.1 million
Warhol produced both comic and serious works; his subject could be a soup can or an electric chair. Warhol used the same techniques—silkscreens, reproduced serially, and often painted with bright colors—whether he painted celebrities, everyday objects, or images of suicide, car crashes, and disasters, as in the 1962–63 Death and Disaster series. The Death and Disaster paintings included Red Car Crash, Purple Jumping Man, and Orange Disaster. One of these paintings, the diptych Silver Car Crash, became the highest priced work of his when it sold at Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction on Wednesday, November 13, 2013, for $105.4 million
His Rorschach inkblots are intended as pop comments on art and what art could be. His cow wallpaper (literally, wallpaper with a cow motif) and his oxidation paintings (canvases prepared with copper paint that was then oxidized with urine) are also noteworthy in this context. Equally noteworthy is the way these works—and their means of production—mirrored the atmosphere at Andy's New York "Factory". Biographer Bob Colacello provides some details on Andy's "piss paintings":
Warhol's first portrait of Basquiat (1982) is a black photo-silkscreen over an oxidized copper "piss painting".
Andy Warhol was commissioned in 1984 by collector and gallerist Alexander Iolas to produce work based on Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper for an exhibition at the old refectory of the Palazzo delle Stelline in Milan, opposite from the Santa Maria delle Grazie where Leonardo da Vinci's mural can be seen.
Artist Maurizio Cattelan describes that it is difficult to separate daily encounters from the art of Andy Warhol: "That's probably the greatest thing about Warhol: the way he penetrated and summarized our world, to the point that distinguishing between him and our everyday life is basically impossible, and in any case useless." Warhol was an inspiration towards Cattelan's magazine and photography compilations, such as Permanent Food, Charley, and Toilet Paper.
In the period just before his death, Warhol was working on Cars, a series of paintings for Mercedes-Benz
A self-portrait by Andy Warhol (1963–64), which sold in New York at the May Post-War and Contemporary evening sale in Christie's, fetched $38.4 million.
Warhol was an avid collector. His friends referred to his numerous collections, which filled not only his four-story townhouse, but also a nearby storage unit, as "Andy's Stuff." The true extent of his collections was not discovered until after his death, when The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh took in 641 boxes of his "Stuff."
Warhol's collections included a Coca-Cola memorabilia sign, and 19th century paintings] along with airplane menus, unpaid invoices, pizza dough, pornographic pulp novels, newspapers, stamps, supermarket flyers, and cookie jars, among other eccentricities. It also included significant works of art, such as George Bellows's Miss Bentham One of his main collections was his wigs. Warhol owned more than 40 and felt very protective of his hairpieces, which were sewn by a New York wig-maker from hair imported from Italy. In 1985 a girl snatched Warhol's wig off his head. It was later discovered in Warhol's diary entry for that day that he wrote: "I don't know what held me back from pushing her over the balcony."
In 1960, he had bought a drawing of a light bulb by Jasper Johns
Another item found in Warhol's boxes at the museum in Pittsburgh was a mummified human foot from Ancient Egypt. The curator of anthropology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History felt that Warhol most likely found it at a flea marke