5 of Andy Warhol’s most famous paintings

5 of Andy Warhol’s most famous paintings

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.

2. Mao, 1972

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.

3. Marilyn Diptych, 1962

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.

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of Tate Modern. From its exhibitions, permanent collections to its members’ rooftop bar, it’s definitely my favourite museum in London.⁣ ⁣ I thought of the Andy Warhol exhibition I didn’t get to visit before it’s temporary closure. It’s not like we need another Warhol exhibition right now, and I’ve been to a brilliant one at Whitney years ago, but I still couldn’t contain my excitement when I discovered the exhibition video this morning. Evidently. ⁣ ⁣ This silkscreen painting, ‘Marilyn Diptych’ (1962), is part of the exhibition and is also one of the museum’s highlights. It was completed shortly after her death from a barbiturate overdose. The repetitive images of Marilyn Monroe seem to suggest her fame and generally, people’s obsessions with celebrities. The images gradually fading on the right are supposed to represent her mortality. ⁣ ⁣ This painting, to me, is one of Warhol’s masterpieces, the other being his ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ (1962). At the same time, it’s something so quintessentially Marilyn Monroe, along with her skirt scene on ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1955). The idea of a diptych tends to be associated with religious paintings, or more specifically, the Christian icons. In creating this piece, not only did Warhol immortalise Marilyn Monroe as an icon, he also immortalised himself as the ultimate Pop Art icon. ⁣ I thought of his popular quote today. “In the future, everyone will he world-famous for 15 minutes”. 58 years after this work was done, that statement still holds true. We’re living in a culture where people are obsessed with the idea of going viral, made possible by the rise of social media and reality TV shows. Was Warhol really a genius who predicted the future and transformed the culture? Or did his fascination with celebrity and fame just get him really lucky? I wondered, but it’s probably quite something if it could make the viewers think this deep.⁣ ⁣ #marilyndiptych #andywarhol #warhol #marilynmonroe #popart #art #modernart #silkscreen #tate #tatemodern #london #instaart #tatemodernturns20

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4. Banana, 1967

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.

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Andy Warhol's iconic banana on The Velvet Underground's album was likely the first time I paid any attention to artists collaborating on album art. ⁠ ⁠ Warhol's aesthetic is so unmistakably his—how could I not notice? I'm glad I did–it led to me opening up my eyes. I enjoy music now on not just a auditory level but also a visual one. It's a richer experience letting the two play off of each other, complement one another, and speak to underlying themes. Albums as a full sensory experience! ⁠ ⁠ Here are the details on this rightfully well-known album and art. ⁠ ⁠ The Velvet Underground & Nico⁠ Debut album ⁠ Released in March 1967, recorded in 1966 ⁠ Label: Verve Records⁠ ⁠ This album was recorded while the musicians were on Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable tour. Warhol paid for the recording sessions as did Norman Dolph (a Columbia Records' sale exec). Columbia didn't take an interest. Atlantic Records and Elecktra Reords also rejected it. Crazy to think that at the time, the album also went ignored by critics and didn't sell well. ⁠ ⁠ Andy Warhol created the iconic sexually-charged banana imagery on the cover. Initially, the cover included a sticker that encouraged owners to peel the skin off of the image to reveal the interior of the banana. The execution of the sticker was fraught with difficulty and delayed the album's release. Original albums with their stickers are rare and collected in the marketplace today. The Record, NPR has an interesting article on the album and the market for originals noting the sale of one for over $25,000. ⁠ ⁠ Link below to the March 11, 2017 article published by The Record, NPR. ⁠ ⁠⁠ ⁠ #thevelvetunderground #nico #warhol #andywarhol #warholbanana #velvetunderground #sundaymorning #artandmusic #aheadofitstime #sticker #collectorsitem #banana #loureed #iconic #albumart #popart #albumcoverart #dramafilled #listen #learnmore #behindthemusic

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5. Eight Elvises, 1963

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.

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