Andy Warhol

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Andy Warhol was a pioneer of the pop art movement in the 1960s. He was born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Slovakian immigrants Ondrej and Julia Warhola. His parents were strict Catholics, who were deeply rooted in their native culture. Warhol contracted a rare disease called Chorea as a child, which led him to be bedridden for many months. During this time, his mother taught him to draw to help him pass the time and he took to it immediately. She also bought him a camera which furthered his interest in photography. He also created a sort of darkroom in the basement of his house. When he had recovered enough, he attended free art classes at the Carnegie Institute (now known as the Carnegie Museum of Art).

Young Warhol’s life took a tragic turn when his father passed away in 1942. Warhol was only 14 at the time. He was so affected by his father’s death that he was unable to attend the funeral service and spent that time hiding under the bed. Warhol’s father believed that his son had what it took to be a successful artist, so he bequeathed his money for his son’s college education. Subsequently, Warhol enrolled at Schenley High School, and then at the Carnegie Institute for Technology (now known as Carnegie Mellon University) to study pictorial design. He graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts. He then moved to New York City to become an ad designer. Changing his last name from “Warhola” to “Warhol”, he got a job at Glamour magazine.

Warhol quickly became one of the most successful commercial artists of his day, achieved widespread recognition and won several awards. By the end of the 1950s and the 1960s, he began to focus more on painting. This was the era that the concept of “pop art” had taken off, and Warhol was a pioneer in the field. His famous painting made with Campbell Soup cans represents the consumer culture of 1960s America. This work created an out roar in the art world – people wanted more and more of Andy Warhol. He started painting more along the same lines, using more consumer products such as Coca Cola, hamburgers etc. Celebrities wanted their paintings commissioned by him and he painted portraits of some of the biggest celebrities alive such as Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. His painting of Elvis sold for over $100 million in 2008, which makes it one of the most valuable pieces of art in history.

Warhol had a studio which he named “The Factory”. This was a meeting place of all the famous celebrities of the day. He loved socializing and was a frequent fixture at glamorous clubs such as Studio 54. Warhol also used the medium of film as part of his art, something that was much rarer at the time as it is now. His interests also included sculpture and photography, and he published several books as well. In 1968, he was attacked by one of the actresses from his films, who was upset about a change of script that she had written. He was shot by her and was seriously wounded. The woman, Valerie Solanis, was arrested and pleaded guilty. Andy Warhol recovered from this injury and lived for almost 20 more years, until his death in 1987 at the age of 58. He never married and was widely believed to be a homosexual. He claimed to have been celibate his entire life. To this day, he remains an iconic and renowned artist.

Andy Warhol Paintings

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