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Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987), born Andrew Warhola, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and public figure known for his membership in wildly diverse social circles that included bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons.  

 

Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression "15 minutes of fame." In his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Andy Warhol Museum exists in memory of his life and artwork.  The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is $100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises.

 

Following his first one-man exhibition as a fine artist at Freud Gallery, San Francisco, Warhol began to make paintings of iconic American products such as Campbell's Soup Cans and Coca-Cola bottles, as well as paintings of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Troy Donahue, Muhammad Ali and Elizabeth Taylor. He founded "The Factory", his studio during these years, and gathered around himself a wide range of artists, writers, musicians, and underground celebrities. He began producing prints using the silkscreen method. His work became popular and controversial.  He was fascinated by the concept that whether you're a Hollywood star or a 'bum on the corner,' you consume exactly the same brand name product.  You cannot get a better drink of Coke because you're rich.  

 

New York's Museum of Modern Art hosted a Symposium on pop art in December 1962 during which artists like Warhol were attacked for "capitulating" to consumerism. Critics were scandalized by Warhol's open embrace of market culture. This symposium set the tone for Warhol's reception. Throughout the decade it became more and more clear that there had been a profound change in the culture of the art world, and that Warhol was at the center of that shift.

 

Warhol was also heavily involved in film and music production during his 'factory years.'