Andy Warhol, born Andrew Warhola, was a leading artist of the Pop Art movement in the 1960s, known for timeless pieces such as ‘Campbells Soup’ and ‘Shot Marilyns’.
However, there is much more to Warhol’s work than meets the eye. Paintings weren’t his only creative outlet, he also ventured into performance art, video illustrations, filmmaking and much more.
This blog is going to explore 10 interesting Andy Warhol art facts, so read on to learn more about the prominent artist and his artwork.
1 – ‘Campbells Soup Cans’ Depicted All 32 Flavours Available
One of Warhol’s most famous paintings is ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’. This work appears to depict repetitions of the same can – however, you may not be aware that each can show a different flavour.
Warhol depicted all 32 flavours of Campbell Soup available in 1962. Originally, the 32 canvases were designed as individual canvases and began selling as such. However, Warhol’s agent purchased half a dozen of the pieces to create the piece we recognise today.
Campbell’s soup was extremely significant to Warhol – he would eat it every lunchtime for around 20 years. He admired the uniformity of each flavour, which partly inspired him to explore repetition throughout his artwork.
2 – ‘Blue Marilyn’ Was The Most Expensive 20th Century Artwork Sold at Auction
Warhol’s famous 1964 portrait of Marilyn Monroe is the epitome of pop art – and became the most expensive 20th-century piece of art sold at an auction – and ultimately, the most expensive 20th-century piece ever.
The piece sold at Christie’s New York auction for roughly $195 million (£158 million) after auction expenses. This surpassed Picasso’s 1995 Les Femmes d’Alger, which was sold for $179 in 2015.
Larry Gagosian, a prominent art dealer in the United States, is reported to have bought the artwork on the behalf of one of his ultra-high net worth clients. Gagosian owns the chain of Gagosian galleries.
The Marilyn Monroe acrylic painting is widely regarded as one of the greatest pieces in history, amongst other notable artworks such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.
3 – ‘Banana’ Featured a ‘Peel and Stick’ Version
You may recognise Warhol’s 1966 ‘Banana’ print – it was designed as the cover image for The Velvet Underground’s debut album ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’.
However, you may not be aware that early versions of the album featured a ‘peel and stick’ edition. You could peel the banana to reveal a pink banana below. The classic Banana by Warhol quickly became synonymous with New York culture.
Warhol serves as the band’s manager. The Velvet Underground, featuring Lou Reed, inspired the punk and rock movements of the ‘70s, despite only selling 30,000 albums in the first five years.
4 – Warhol’s Art Took A Dark Turn After He Was Shot
Andy Warhol was shot twice in June 1968, by radical feminist Valerie Solanas, who claimed Warhol had ‘too much control over her life’, and wanted to get back at him.
Although Andy Warhol survived the attack, the shooting changed the trajectory of his career. Following the incident, Warhol began to create artwork that depicted death, including skull-like imagery.
Warhol claimed that he stopped being creative when he was shot and nearly killed. He quickly became more guarded and began to focus more on business and less on creativity.
5 – ‘210 Coca-Cola Bottles’ Was The First Warhol Piece to Surpass $1 Million
Popular Warhol painting ‘210 Coca-Cola Bottles’ (1962) is the most complex of Warhol’s Coke bottle series. It was also the first of Warhol’s works to exceed $1 million at Sotheby’s, selling for $1.4 million in Mary 1988.
A smaller version in the series, Green Coca-Cola Bottles, can be found in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
6 – Warhol Began Illustrating Shoes
When you think of Warhol’s work, you may think of the classic pop art prints he produced. However, Warhol started his art career by illustrating shoes for advertisements after gaining a degree in pictorial design.
In 1949, Glamour Magazine commissioned Warhol to illustrate shoes, and in the 50s, Israel Miller asked Warhol to work as a shoe designer for his company. Warhol’s love for shoes and feet continued throughout his life.
7 – Warhol Also Produced Films
As well as being a prominent artist, Warhol had other creative outlets. He not only loved music, and managed The Velvet Underground, he also produced films.
In fact, between the years 1963 and 1968, Warhol produced over 600 films. These films were considered experimental, pushing the norm of the current cinema scene.
Warhol withdrew his films from circulation in 1970, later going on to donate his original films to the New York Museum of Modern Art.
8 – Warhol Painted An Electric Chair
The same year that the final two executions by electric chair in New York took place, Warhol photographed an empty execution chamber. He used this as inspiration for a series of paintings depicting the electric chair. These paintings symbolised death and acted as a commentary on the death penalty controversy.
9 – You Can Find Warhol Pieces At ‘The Warhol’
The Andy Warhol Museum – The Warhol – holds the biggest collection of Warhol’s work, featuring paintings, illustrations, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, books, wallpapers, sketchbooks, and many more.
The museum is a collaborative project between the Andy Warhol Foundation, Dia Art Foundation, and Carnegie Institute – and is one of the largest single-artist museums in the world.
10 – Warhol’s Work Inspired Countless Artists
There is no denying that Warhol had a lasting impact on the world of art. Following his death in February 1987, Warhol’s legacy continues to inspire countless artists through his artwork.
For example, Rad Husak’s work shares similarities with Warhol’s pieces. Contemporary artist Rad Husak draws on a range of historic concepts, visually referencing pop culture, including Andy Warhol’s ‘Double Elvis’ series (1963).
This series inspired Rad’s ‘Duality’ exhibition, which can be seen at our very own Grove Gallery in London. You can also explore a range of Warhol pieces, and use our impartial art advisory service to invest in an Andy Warhol print.