Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) grew up in Pittsburgh where he studied commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He moved to New York after receiving his BFA and became a celebrated illustrator for various fashion houses, most famously drawing shoes for I. Miller & Sons. He won major awards for his work from the Art Directors Club in New York.
An admirer of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, in 1960 he began seriously to pursue a career in fine art. He began with painted pictures of advertisements and comics which often parodied the gestural brushwork of the abstract expressionists. He soon turned to hard outlines of characters filled in with flat colors. His work in this early period comprises many of the first examples of what became known as pop art.
Pop art, for which Warhol would become the central identifying figure, began not in the United States but in England where it was an exploration of the cultural influence of mass media, advertising, and commercial design. It was, in other words, the world in which Warhol had been living for many years. In 1964, the movement was featured in the United States pavilion at the 32nd Venice Biennale and Robert Rauschenberg, an important link between abstract expressionism and pop art, was awarded the top prize for painting. At that point if not before pop art became associated with America.
Just before 1964 Warhol had begun painting with silkscreen photographic images which challenged the idea of a unique work of art. The silkscreens were made with a team of assistants at his studio, called The Factory, which further removed the final work from the hand of the artist. This use of editions and offset lithography was a natural extension of Warhol’s earlier ventures into bookmaking. His first book, 25 Cats Name [sic] Sam and One Blue Pussy was made in 1953 and it was followed in 1956 with In the Bottom of My Garden. He was a contributor to Walasse Ting’s and Sam Francis’ 1¢ Life in 1964, but after that publication he moved away from bound books and concentrated on producing limited edition portfolios of screenprints.
Books with Andy Warhol available from Boreas Fine Art:
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