Biography of Andy Warhol | Major Pop Art artist (1928-1987)

Biography of Andy Warhol

“An artist is someone who creates things that people don’t need, but for some reason thinks it would be a good idea to bring to them.” Andy Warhol This article Biography Andy Warhol. This is a biography of Andy Warhol a major famous American pop art artist (1928-1987). The famous: Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola

The American artist Andy Warhol, whose real name is Andrew Warhola, was born in Pittsburgh on August 6, 1928. He was the third son of Andrej Varchola and Julia (née Zavacky), married in Mikova (now Slovakia) in 1909, emigrants in the United States in 1913 for his father and in 1921 for his mother. Andy Warhol died in New York on February 22, 1987 following minor gallbladder surgery.

Andy Warhol’s father, Andrej, was a miner, then a worker on the city’s industrial sites. His mother, Julia, earns a little money doing housework and selling her handicrafts (paper flowers and Easter eggs) door to door. The family rented successive modest apartments near the factories before buying, in 1934, a small house in the district of Oakland.

Biography of Andy Warhol in 30s

In 1937, Andrew contracted chorea, an infectious disease that affects the nervous system. Also called Saint-Guy’s dance, this disease forced him to stay in bed for more than two months. A cousin gives the family a Kodak Brownie Box Camera, a device with which he will take many photographs that he develops himself in an improvised laboratory in the basement of the house.

In 1938, when he was only ten years old, Andrew began to collect autographed photos of movie stars, which he carefully collected in albums. He is passionate about Hollywood, photography, drawing, magazines and shows an early interest in art.

in 40s

His father died in 1942. Julia, who feared for her youngest son’s nervous condition, prevented him from attending the funeral.

From 1945 to 1949, Andy Warhol studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh in the “Painting and Design” section where he met Philip Pearlstein.

A graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology in June 1949, he left for New York in the summer where he moved in with Philip Pearlstein in an apartment near St. Mark’s Place. He then takes the name of Andy Warhol. He received his first commissions as an advertising artist. He will therefore collaborate, as an illustrator, with many magazines: Glamour, Vogue, Seventeen, The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar. He will also create window displays, record covers, book covers and advertising campaigns, including the famous campaign for I Miller shoes.

Biography of Andy Warhol in the 50s

In 1952, his first solo exhibition entitled “Fifteen drawings on texts by Truman Capote” took place at the Hugo Gallery in New York. He received the medal of the Art Directors Club in 1952 and 1957.

In 1956, Andy Warhol tried unsuccessfully to join the Tanager Gallery, the first gallery managed by an artists’ cooperative. The following year he founded Andy Warhol Enterprises Inc. and published “A Gold Book”. He made a short stay at Saint-Luke’s Hospital to follow an aesthetic treatment of the nose.

At the end of 1959, Warhol acquired a three-story mansion at 1342 Lexington Avenue, where he set up his studio and moved in with his mother, who had lived with him in New York since 1952.

Biography of Andy Warhol in in the 60s

In the early 1960s, Andy Warhol became involved in screen printing, while exploring popular culture and mass consumer products. His work is directly influenced by the generalization of mass consumption and the proliferation of media that mark his time. Andy Warhol uses serigraphy almost exclusively, thus seeking to break with the fetishism of the unique work. The prints he makes are random and without numbers. Despite a mechanized production method, Andy Warhol intervenes on the chosen images by coloring them, photocopying them and modifying their appearance.

In the spring of 1961, Andy Warhol visited the Leo Castelli gallery where Ivan Karp introduced him to the work of Roy Lichtenstein, also inspired by comics. He produced his first paintings devoted to consumer goods (“Peach Halves”, “Coca-Cola” ) and begins a stencil series dedicated to the Campbell’s soup can.

In 1962, he painted “newspaper headlines”, which constituted his first transposition of photography into painting. In the spring, he introduces for the first time the technique of screen printing on canvas in his work. It is this new technique that he uses for the first portraits of movie stars that he produces on canvas: Troy Donahue, then Marilyn Monroe (after his death, August 5), Elvis Presley, Nathalie Wood and Warren Beatty.

At the beginning of the summer of 1962, Irving Blum organized the first solo exhibition of the artist’s paintings: “Campbell’s Soup Cans”, at the Ferus Gallery. At the end of the exhibition, he acquires all of the 32 canvases to avoid their dispersion. In September, Ileana and Michael Sonnabend go to Warhol with Robert Rauschenberg to whom he offers to do his portrait from photographs that he would provide. A few months later, the Stable Gallery offered him his first New York solo exhibition. Among the works presented is the “Marilyn Diptych”. Michael Fried wrote then: “An art like that of Warhol necessarily parasitizes the myths of his time, and therefore, indirectly, the machine of glory and publicity which launches them on the market”. On December 13, the “on pop art” symposium organized by Moma baptizes the new trend.

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Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, New York. Gorup de Besanez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1963, Andy Warhol made many canvases with violent subjects (electric chairs, race riots, etc.) for which he used press photographs. In January, the loan of the Mona Lisa for an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum inspired him to create a series devoted to “Mona Lisa”. In June, he uses photo booths for a double-page spread in Harper’s Bazaar. A month later, he painted his first commissioned portrait, “Ethel Scull 36 time”s, for which he used specially made photo booths. Warhol made his first films including “Sleep” and “Kiss”. He moved into a large loft (231 East Street) which he named Factory and whose layout he entrusted to Billy Linich: the walls were soon covered with aluminum foil and all the furniture and floors covered in silver paint. .

In 1964, Warhol created the “first Screen Tests”, short filmed portraits of Factory regulars which he produced until 1966. He bought a tape recorder and began to record all the conversations. In the fall, armed with a gun, Dorothy Podber enters the Factory and shoots four portraits of Marilyn which become the “Shot Marilyn”. In the spring, invited by Philip Johnson, he painted for the Universal Exhibition in New York the “Thirteen Most Wanted Men”, hung on the facade of the State pavilion and finally covered up for political reasons. A few weeks after the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he begins the series of “Jackies”. He also produced his first “Self-portraits”, using photo booths. The portrait holds a considerable place in the production of Warhol and his first Factory. Rainer Crone indicates “for the years from 1962 to 1964 alone a total of 1760 paintings of which 365 are portraits, i.e. 20.7% of the works and for 1963, the production of portraits reached 69.5% of production”.

In 1965, Warhol painted multicolored “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and continued the “Liz” and “Electric chairs” series. The Factory welcomes new regulars like Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison, all members of the Velvet Underground (created in November). In the spring, Andy Warhol goes to Paris for his exhibition at Sonnabend (“Flowers”). Upon his return to New York, the evening of “50 personalities of the gratin worldly” counts, among the guests, Judy Garland, Allen Ginsberg, Tenessee Williams, and Montgomery Clift.

In 1966, the company Andy Warhol Films Inc. was created to ensure the production and distribution of his works. In April, for his second exhibition at Castelli, Warhol covered the walls of a room in the gallery with his cow’s head wallpaper. In the other room, white, float his “Silver clouds” (silver cushions inflated with helium). In 1968, these will be used by Merce Cunningham as the scenography for his ballet Rain Forest.

Invited to Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival in 1967, Andy Warhol met a few stars there, including Brigitte Bardot. He experiments with the stroboscopic cut which consists in interrupting the motor of the camera to give rhythm to the film. He produces, in 250 copies, a port-folio of 10 colored versions of Marilyn. On December 15, the one and only complete screening of “**** (Four stars)” takes place, a film of more than 25 hours made up of the sequence of many different reels.

In 1968, the Factory moved to 33 Union Square West. In February, Warhol travels to Stockholm for the opening of his first European retrospective exhibition. For the occasion, the facade of the Moderna Museet is covered with the now famous wallpaper with the heads of cows. He participated in the fourth international exhibition “Documenta” in Kassel. On June 3, Valérie Solanas, disappointed actress of “I, a Man”, and founder and sole member of the SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men), breaks into the Factory and shoots Warhol at close range. Taken to Columbus Hospital in critical condition, he underwent an operation lasting several hours and spent almost two months in hospital. Two days later, Robert Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles. Jed Johnson, who will become his companion, regularly frequents the Factory where he then moves.

***June 3, 1968: Warhol is the victim of an assassination attempt.
Having failed to have the painter produce her script, Valérie Solanas, a feminist writer, shoots Andy Warhol. He was injured in the abdomen, lung and esophagus, and never really recovered from these injuries. After this tragic event, the artist decides to put an end to the collective adventure of the Factory.

In 1969, the broadcast of “Lonesome Cowboys” caused an outcry and prompted an FBI investigation. On July 31, “Blue Movie” was seized by the police for obscenity. The Andy Warhol Garrick Theater crews are arrested. Warhol publishes the first issue of Interview, a monthly film review he designed with John Wilcock. The magazine is published by Warhol Enterprises, Inc.

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Biography of Andy Warhol in the 70s

In 1971, his retrospective at the Whitney was a success and the New York Times critical acclaim: “The plain and simple truth, which will pain his enemies, is that Andy Warhol seems better than ever”. He draws the cover of the Rolling Stones album, “Sticky Fingers”. He gets closer to John Lennon and Yoko Ono during their stay in New York. With Paul Morrissey, he buys a property in Montauk (Long Island) where he regularly stays with his friends (Truman Capote, Lee Radziwill). In the fall, his ailing mother returns to live in Pittsburgh. Warhol devotes more and more time to commissioned portraits that he produces from photographs taken with his Polaroid Big Shot. At the Factory, the jet set replaces the bohemia of the previous decade.

In 1972, Andy Warhol distances himself from the cinema and seriously gets back to painting. He begins his series of painted portraits of Mao (which he will decline in drawings, prints and wallpaper). He participated in the campaign for the presidential election of Democratic Senator George McGovern. Richard Bernstein is responsible for the covers of Interview. By driving orders around the world, the magazine, which has doubled its circulation, largely contributes to fueling his business as a socialite portraitist. Warhol produces between 50 and 100 portraits a year.

In 1973, Warhol made an appearance in the film “The Driver’s Seat”, where he befriended Elisabeth Taylor.

In Paris, in 1974, the Galliéra museum devotes an exhibition to him where 151 portraits of Mao are hung on a wallpaper background bearing his effigy. At the end of the year, his activity as a portrait artist brought him around a million dollars. Warhol buys a large 5-storey mansion at 57 East 66th. He begins to put together “Time Capsules”, sealed and dated boxes where he piles up various documents and objects. He co-produced “Dracula” and “Frankenstein”, both made in Italy by Paul Morrissey. Warhol executes the portrait of his mother.

In 1975, Andy Warhol produced the “Ladies and Gentlemen” series, portraits of black transvestites. In May, when he was invited by President Ford for the gala dinner given at the White House in honor of the Shah of Iran and Empress Farah Diba, he had his talents as a portraitist recommended to guests. In 1976, from photographs of a skull purchased from an antique dealer in Paris, Warhol produced the “Skulls” series. He shot his last film, “Bad” (which was released in the spring of 1977) and began dictating his diary, “Andy Warhol diaries”, to Pat Hackett. In 1977, he went to Iran to execute the portraits of the imperial family. In 1978, he produced a series of self-portraits, “Self-portraits with skulls”.

In 1979, Warhol met Beuys in Düsseldorf. The Whitney Museum is organizing the exhibition “Andy Warhol, Portraits of the 70’s”. David Whitney, who is in charge of the curating, presents there, in pairs and in staggered rows, the effigies of 56 personalities as well as 8 posthumous portraits of the artist’s mother and 3 giant Maos from 1973. In the catalog, Robert Rosenblum replaces Warhol in the great tradition of portraiture. Critical reception is very mixed.

Biography of Andy Warhol in in the 80s

In 1980, Andy Warhol made several portraits of Joseph Beuys, which he then declined in a portfolio. He begins to use diamond dust, notably in the “Diamond dust shoes” series. For the drawings of the “Modern Madonnas”, he hires professional models who come to pose with their child for photographs in the workshop. In 1981, Andy Warhol photographed himself in drag in the series “Portraits in drag”.

Warhol and Beuys by Jodice
Warhol and Beuys in Naples (1980). Mimmo Jodice and the CODA Museum, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1982, he traveled to China where a wealthy industrialist commissioned him to paint portraits of the Prince and Princess of Wales for the inauguration of a new nightclub in Hong Kong. He visits Beijing. He became friends with a new generation of artists (Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia and Julian Schnabel) whose portraits he executed in exchange for works.

In 1983, Andy Warhol collaborated with Basquiat and Clemente on large collective paintings which were exhibited the following year at the Bischofberger gallery. He devotes a portfolio to Ingrid Bergman.

In 1984, Warhol bought a former Edison power station, a 4-storey building where he set up his workshop and all of his offices. His collaboration with Jean-Michel Basquiat ended after the critical failure of their exhibition at the Shafrazi gallery.

In 1985, he returned to advertising imagery by painting the “Ads” series. The Campbell Soup Company commissioned a series of paintings from him to promote their new product, freeze-dried soups.

In 1986, Warhol made the commemorative portrait of Joseph Beuys in camouflage. The latest “Selfportraits” are exhibited during the summer in London. Interview is printed in 170,000 copies. Alexandre Iolas, who now runs a gallery in Milan, commissions works inspired by Leonardo’s Last Supper. Bernd Klüser, Munich gallery owner, submits to him the idea of working on a portrait of Lenin.

In 1987, Andy Warhol made portraits of “Beethoven”. On February 20, he entered New York Hospital under an assumed name (Bob Robert) to be treated for a gallbladder. He died two days later, on February 22, of postoperative complications. On April 1, the commemorative mass celebrated in his honor at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York brings together more than 2,000 people.

“Art is already advertising. The Mona Lisa could have served as a support for a brand of chocolate, Coca-Cola or anything else.” Andy Warhol

February 22, 1987: Death of Andy Warhol

Operated on for his gallbladder, the genius of contemporary art died the night following his operation, on February 22, 1987, from cardiac arrest. Aged 58, he leaves behind him a masterful work that has revolutionized contemporary art.

Sources: PinterPandai, Tate, Britannica

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