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collections > permanent collection > prints > andy warhol

Andy Warhol
(American, 1928 -1987)
Grace Kelly, 1984
Screenprint, 40" x 32"

Margery Wolf-Kuhn Art Acquisition Endowment Fund (87.011)

Andy Warhol exemplifies the Pop Art movement of the 1960s.  Embracing the banalities of mass culture, he created images which are now iconic:  the Campbell’s Soup Can, the Brillo Boxes, and his screenprints of pop celebrities.  In prints such as the Museum’s Grace Kelly, Warhol utilized techniques from commercial lithography to create work reminiscent of comic books, posters, and other ephemeral popular media.  Garish colors and deliberately imperfect registration are the most prominent features of these prints, which call attention to both the positive and negative aspects of American consumerism.  Grace Kelly is one of an extensive series that also includes portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.  In these works, Warhol often repeated the image multiple times on the same sheet, suggesting the mass replication not only of “high art,” but also of the depicted individual.

Born Andrew Warhola in 1928, Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh and earned a BFA from the Carnegie Institute of Technology.  Moving to New York City in 1950, he commenced his career as a commercial illustrator.  He began making drawings and illustrated books, and by 1960, he had painted his first Pop paintings.  The burgeoning Pop movement counted Warhol among its most promising figures, and over the next several years, his work was featured in a number of gallery and museum exhibitions.  Expanding into filmmaking, Warhol gained a reputation for avant-garde movies, which he produced at his New York “Factory,” founded in 1963.  The Factory became the chief site of Warhol’s multifarious activities, and there he employed numerous assistants to help him create his work.  One of these attempted to assassinate Warhol in 1968, but the artist survived, despite sustaining serious injury.  Warhol turned increasingly to commissioned screenprint portrait work in later years, but also experimented with video and conceptual art.  He died in 1987, following gall bladder surgery at New York Hospital.