Artist: Andy Warhol
Custom Framed Andy Warhol Prints
At Framed-Arts.com, we offer a wide selection of custom framed Andy Warhol prints, from early advertising printsto later Andy Warhol paintings. The Warhol works we feature can be browsed from our custom search page, while this page contains a short Andy Warhol biography and information on the history of Pop Art. Read on to find out information about the renowned artist’s life and work, including a discussion of relevant modern art styles.
A Brief History of the “Pop Art Pope”
Andy Warhol was an American artist known for his unconventional life and work. A key figure in the “Pop Art” movement, he was born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928, to parents who immigrated to the United States from what is now Slovakia. Warhol started his art career as a commercial illustrator, but became internationally famous for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, music producer, and author. During his lifetime, Andy Warhol’s paintings were often derided by critics as a hoax or "put-on." Since his death in 1987, however, Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions and documentary films. Twenty years later, he is generally considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.
Andy Warhol Biography
Andy Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh. His Slovakian father, Andrew Warhola, worked in a Pennsylvania coal mine. In third grade, Warhol was diagnosed with St. Vitus' Dance, a complication of scarlet fever that afflicts the central nervous system. Occasionally bed-ridden, the young Warhol occupied himself with drawing, listening to the radio and collecting pictures of movie stars. Warhol later described his illness as important to the development of his personality and interests.
As a young man, Warhol studied commercial art at the School of Fine Arts at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. In 1949, he moved to New York City and began a successful career in advertising and commercial illustration. During the 1950s, he became known for the drawings he produced for assorted advertising campaigns. From advertising, Warhol went to work in the record industry when RCA Records hired him to design album covers and promotional materials.
During the 1960s, Warhol began to make his trademark paintings of famous American popular culture icons such as Campbell's soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and celebrities. He founded a studio he called "The Factory" and switched to the serial production of silkscreen prints, seeking not only to make art of mass-produced items but to mass produce the art itself. His work quickly became very controversial--and very popular. By declaring that he wanted to be "a machine" and then minimizing his role in the production of his own artwork, Warhol helped spark an art revolution, which came to be known as Pop Art. By the end of the ‘60s, Andy Warhol had himself become a celebrity, and appeared frequently in newspaper and magazine photos alongside Factory cohorts.
After the scandal and controversy of Warhol's work in the '60s, including his nearly fatal 1968 shooting by a disgruntled Factory member, the 1970s saw Warhol focusing more on entrepreneurial matters. He painted celebrity portraits, co-founded Interview magazine and published The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975). In his book, he describes his ideas on the nature of art: "Making money is art, and working is art, and good business is the best art."
In the 1980s, Warhol experienced a re-emergence of critical and financial success, partially due to his connections to a number of popular younger artists. However, on February 22, 1987, Andy Warhol died while a patient at New York Hospital. After routine gallbladder surgery, the hospital staff accidentally overloaded him with fluids, and he suffered a fatal case of water intoxication. After his death, Warhol’s brothers took his body back to Pittsburgh for burial. On April 1, 1987, a memorial service was held for Warhol at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.
Warhol’s Wide Body of Works
Throughout his eclectic career, Warhol authored works in many different modern art styles and media, including drawing, books, sculpture, audio, time capsules, television, fashion, performance art, and photography. He even used early computers to generate digital art. However, he is best known for his paintings and films. For our purposes, we will focus on Andy Warhol’s paintings.
Paintings and Prints
By the beginning of the 1960s, Warhol had become known for his commercial drawings for I. Miller shoes. These elegant illustrations consisted mainly of "blotted ink" drawings, a technique which he applied in much of his early art. In the early ’60s, Warhol tried to exhibit some of his monoprints in a gallery, but was turned down. At the time, a number of artists were independently experimenting with Pop Art, a new form in which popular subjects were an accepted part of the artist's palette. Warhol turned to this new style and began to take commercial and popular culture more explicitly as his subject.
Early Andy Warhol paintings show cartoon and advertising images hand-painted in a style reminiscent of abstract expressionism. Eventually, Warhol pared his subjects down to the icon itself--brand names, celebrities, dollar signs--and removed all traces of the artist's "hand" in the production of his paintings. For his first major exhibition, he painted his famed cans of Campbell's Soup, which he claimed to have eaten for lunch for most of his life.
From these beginnings, Warhol developed his later style and subjects. Instead of focusing on a signature subject matter, he worked increasingly to produce a signature style, slowly eliminating the hand-made from the artistic process. By shifting to silk-screening, Warhol went from painter to painting designer. At the height of his fame, he had several assistants who followed his direction in producing different versions and variations of his silk-screen multiples. No matter his subject, from soup can to electric chair, Warhol applied the same techniques: silk-screens painted in bright colors and reproduced serially.
Producer and Product
Warhol’s work challenged existing notions of what it means to be an artist. He chose to take on the position of producer rather than creator, not only as a painter but also as a filmmaker and in his commercial endeavors. As he honed his production expertise, The Factory evolved from an atelier into an office. He became (and still is) the public face of a particular brand.
Warhol was a self-professed fan of "Art Business" and "Business Art." At the time, this was a radical stance, as artists had traditionally opposed commercialism. Warhol and other Pop Artists helped redefine the artist's position as professional, commercial, and popular. In this respect, Andy Warhol and his fellow denizens of Pop Art have contributed significantly to the incorporation of art into popular American culture and society.
Two museums are dedicated to Andy Warhol. The Andy Warhol Museum is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the largest American art museum dedicated to a single artist, holding more than 12,000 works by the artist himself. The other museum, the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art, is located in the small town of Medzilaborce, Slovakia, 15 kilometers from the village where Andy's parents were born. The museum houses several original works as well as personal items donated by Warhol's relatives.
We hope this short Andy Warhol biography and information on the history of Pop Art have provided insight into Warhol’s extensive body of work. You can browse our selection of custom framed Andy Warhol prints and paintings by visiting our custom search page. Happy print hunting, and please contact us with any questions.