Musement shares five of the most famous Andy Warhol paintings that have left a distinct mark on modern art.
One of the world’s most esteemed Pop Artists, Andy Warhol is synonymous with downtown New York City, his tin foil-decorated Factory, and Campbell’s Soup. While paintings weren’t the only medium by which he expressed himself, they’re definitely one of his most significant. His instantly recognizable flair has left an indelible mark on 20th-century art, and here are five of his most famous paintings.
1. Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962
The artist sought inspiration from consumer culture and the mass media, and one of his most iconic portrayals was the popular Campbell’s Soup cans. He painted 32 canvases, one for each of the 32 soup flavors sold at the time, and displayed them all together, as though they’re displayed on a supermarket shelf. See them all at MoMA.
Warhol was just as inspired by celebrities as consumer culture, hence his depiction of Mao Zedong, the communist revolutionary who founded the People’s Republic of China. Modeling his works on Mao’s official state portrait, Warhol added splashes of bright color. Many believe this was his way of showing freedom of expression, something Mao didn’t nurture so generously among his countrymen. He created 199 silkscreens in total, which are displayed around the world. You can admire one iteration at the Tate Modern in London.
Warhol also featured Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe in his work. His silkscreen contains 50 identical portraits of the movie star: 25 in color on the left and 25 in black and white on the right, based on a publicity shot from her 1953 film, Niagara. He completed this work in the weeks following her tragic death, and it’s one of his most recognizable. You can also see this one at London’s Tate Modern.
Simple yet iconic, Warhol’s Banana is a considered a pop culture icon. He crafted this slightly browned fruit for the cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico. The most interesting part? He added an interactive factor! The skin was actually a sticker that album owners could peel back to reveal the fruit underneath. Warhol eventually went on to incorporate this image into subsequent works.
Eight Elvises is perhaps a little lesser known than some of Warhol’s other images as it wasn’t mass-produced, but it’s clearly representative of his distinct style. This 12-foot tall work depicts eight overlapping full-size images of Elivs Presley sporting cowboy apparel. This painting, which now resides in a private collection, sold for $100 million in 2008, making Warhol, at the time, the fifth artist whose works sold for at least that amount.