Andy Warhol 1928-1987
By Lily Spencer
Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on the 6th August 1928 to two Slovakian immigrants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother was an embroiderer and an artist and it was she who taught Warhol to draw while he recovered from a long illness at the age of 8.
After graduating from the Carnegie Institute for Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) where he studied pictorial design, he started working as a commercial and graphic artist for major editorial publications such as Vogue and Glamour in New York City. It was at this point that he removed the ‘a’ from his last name to become Andy Warhol. He subsequently became one of the most successful commercial artists of the 1950s. However, in 1961 he debuted his concept of ‘Pop Art’ with his exhibition of the now-iconic Campbell soup cans. Pop Art presented the culture of America in the 1950s and ‘60s to the people of those decades. It sought to dismantle the barrier between high art and the images that bombarded the eyes of the American population every day in the form of advertisements, television and the media. Critics are still arguing over whether he was criticising or venerating the commercialism and materialism of the 1960s, but it is known that Warhol relished his own celebrity and surrounded himself with the inane, ‘kitsch’ and other famous and glamorous people. His New York studio became known as ‘The Factory’ – making reference to Warhol’s attempts to make mass-producible art – and it was the setting for many parties and gatherings of socialites and celebrities.
His other famous works include those of Coca Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe and, in 2008, his ‘Eight Elvises’ sold for $100 million, becoming the most expensive work by an American artist ever sold. (It was recently de-pedestaled by a Jean-Michel Basquiat, which sold for $110 million). In the 1970s, he published several books including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and experimented in film art and in the 1980s he ventured into television and also became the mentor to other artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. He died in 1987, aged 58, as a result of complications from a gall bladder surgery.
For more information about Andy Warhol, visit:
“Andy Warhol” profile on artnet, accessed 31st July, 2017. http://www.artnet.com/artists/andy-warhol/3
“Andy Warhol” profile on biography.com, accessed 31st July, 2017. https://www.biography.com/people/andy-warhol-9523875
The Warhol Foundation, accessed 31st July, 2017. http://warholfoundation.org/legacy/biography.html