It's Andy Warhol's Birthday!

August 6, 2019

No artist has contributed to the collapse of boundaries between high and low culture as much as Andy Warhol did. Having omnivorous curiosity and willingness to experiment with non-traditional art-making techniques, he had created an enormous body of work that spanned every available medium, at the same time elevating his own persona to the level of a popular icon.

Understanding America’s contradictory impulses and the growing power of images in contemporary life, Warhol embraced avant-garde logic, the mass media and consumerism to create original art that profoundly influenced how we see and think about the world now. More than 30 years after his death, Warhol remains ever-present and instantly recognizable, continuing to permeate popular culture. His works are today so familiar that it is easy to forget how shocking they were when they debuted.

In 1987, Warhol died from complications following his gallbladder surgery. Today, he would have been 91. To celebrate his birthday, we have compiled a list of artworks that you can add to your collection.

Featured image: Photograph of the American artist Andy Warhol in Moderna Museet, Stockholm, before the opening of his retrospective exhibition with Brillo boxes in the background, 1986. Lasse Olsson / Pressens bild. All images courtesy of their respective galleries.

Portfolio of eleven screenprints with screenprint cover, 1963

The defining moment in Andy Warhol's career was his discovery of the photo silkscreen process, which allowed him to produce seemingly endless variations that question our faith in images and the value of cultural icons. This process, in which he could transfer images from magazines or newspapers to canvass, launched him into stardom.

The diverse range of lithographs and screenprints throughout his oeuvre demonstrate the artist’s development and inventiveness as a printmaker. His willingness to experiment with the technique is evident in this portfolio of eleven screenprints from 1963.

See more info about the work here.

Gardone a la Mouselline, 1959

Before Warhol began making art destined for galleries, he was the most successful and highly paid commercial illustrator in New York. After his first assignment for Glamour magazine, he was commissioned by some of the major fashion magazines including Vogue, The New York Times, and Harper’s Bazaar, becoming the most sought-after illustrator in the city.

Upon his arrival in Manhattan where he came to pursue the world of art, Warhol began working for the Fifth Avenue temple of Tiffany & Co in 1956, creating everything from shoe advertisements to Christmas cards and recipes such as Gardone a la Mouselline from 1959.

See more info about the work here.

Cow, 1971

The inspiration for Cow series created in 1971 came from Ivan Karp, an instrumental art dealer in the 1960s. He suggested Warhol painting cows as "they’re so wonderfully pastoral and such a durable image in the history of the arts." Working with the photograph chosen by his painter, Gerard Malanga, Warhol used bold color schemes which made the bovine animal a humorous and strangely exciting subject matter.

See more info about the work here.

Sex Part, 1977

The inspiration for the series Sex Parts, works which blurred the line between art and pornography, came after a man approached Warhol boasting about the size of his penis. The artist took a photograph of it and decided to make a series which he fondly referred to as Cocks, Cunts and Assholes series.

A collection of anonymous male and female body parts captured with 35mm camera and Polaroid, these works highlight the body through extreme close-ups and cropping. When asked by the writer and Factory-insider, Bob Colacello about the explicit content of the series, Warhol replied: "Just tell them it’s art… They’re landscapes."

See more info about the work here.

Double Self Portrait, 1966

Created in his signature style of bright, repeated silkscreen prints, Self-Portrait from 1966 demonstrates the artist's expertise in coloring. Warhol paired primary and secondary colors, as well as different shades of the same color. Portraits formed a seminal part of Warhol's later career, capturing the likes of the people he admired as well as wealthy socialites he met on the New York social circuit. His engagement in self-portraits further launched him to stardom, making the artist a celebrity icon.

See more info about the work here.

Liz Taylor, 1989

This work is the first edition reproduction of the famous 1964 image of Liz Taylor by Andy Warhol for a Warhol exhibition held in Italy in 1989. The artist first began creating images fo Taylor in the 1960s, at the height of the actress's career. For Warhol, she was an ideal subject, possessing a similar combination of success, beauty and tragedy as did Marilyn Monroe. Characterized by bold colors, this particular work is based on a closely-cropped promotional photograph of Taylor for Butterfield 8.

See more info about the work here.

Flowers (II.73), 1966

Flowers (II.37) is part of Warhol’s famous Flowers portfolio which was based on photographs taken by Patricia Caulfield. These works first debuted at the influential Leo Castelli Gallery in the late 1960s.

Taking rather innocuous images, the artist altered these photographs by flattening and cropping the flowers and adding vibrant, contrasting colors. Set against a dark and ambiguous backdrop, these works suggest the ephemeral nature of beauty. These works have also been interpreted as a symbol of mourning, as the artist created them just after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

See more info about the work here.

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