Brillo Soap Pads Box

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist)
    Christie's, New York, May 4, 1989, lot 193
    Private Collection (acquired at the above sale)
    Thence by descent to the present owner

  • Literature

    Georg Frei and Neil Printz, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings and Sculptures 1964-1969, vol. 2A, New York, 2004, p. 75, no. 702

  • Catalogue Essay

    Executed in 1964, the present work belongs to Andy Warhol’s iconic series of Brillo Soap Pads boxes, which came to define the Pop art movement and re-define traditional notions of sculpture. After being constructed by craftsmen to Warhol’s specifications, the wooden boxes were first hand-painted and then screenprinted, first with red and then with blue ink. Taking a unique position in this series for its combination of two subtly varied shades of red, the present work encapsulates the a period of revolutionary transformation in Warhol’s oeuvre. The seeds for this icon of contemporary art were laid in early 1962 when Warhol produced a three-dimensional version of his Campbell Soup Cans paintings and over the next year and a half developing this initial idea further with his first series of screenprinted plywood boxes screenprinted with imitation lettering and logos of such consumer staples as Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, and Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Further developing the central tenets he had explored with his discrete Brillo (3 ¢ Off) boxes from 1963–1964, Warhol created his Brillo Soap Pads boxes between March and April 1964 in preparation for his second solo show at the Stable Gallery in New York.

    Massed floor to ceiling with Warhol’s various box sculptures, the Stable Gallery was transformed into what appeared to be a supermarket stockroom. The dazzling show became a rallying point for both those for and against Pop art; as Robert Indiana remembers, “The most striking opening of that period was definitely Andy’s Brillo Box Show” (Robert Indiana, quoted in Victor Bockris, Warhol: The Biography, Cambridge, 2003, p. 198). These so-called “stable boxes” set the foundation for two further discrete iterations on the theme, created for Warhol’s 1968 exhibition at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and his 1970 retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of Art. In a cutting indictment of the values of bourgeois culture, Warhol’s Brillo Soap Pad constitutes a deadpan cultural critique of a materialistic and mass-produced society that remains unparalleled in the history of American art.

  • Artist Bio

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    Andy Warhol was the leading exponent of the Pop Art movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. Following an early career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol achieved fame with his revolutionary series of silkscreened prints and paintings of familiar objects, such as Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe. Obsessed with popular culture, celebrity and advertising, Warhol created his slick, seemingly mass-produced images of everyday subject matter from his famed Factory studio in New York City. His use of mechanical methods of reproduction, notably the commercial technique of silk screening, wholly revolutionized art-making.

    Working as an artist, but also director and producer, Warhol produced a number of avant-garde films in addition to managing the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground and founding Interview magazine. A central figure in the New York art scene until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol was notably also a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

     

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159

Brillo Soap Pads Box

stamped by the Estate of Andy Warhol and initialed "VF" on the underside
silkscreen ink and house paint on plywood
17 x 17 x 14 in. (43.2 x 43.2 x 35.6 cm.)
Executed in 1964.

Estimate
$250,000 - 350,000 

sold for $437,500

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261
jmccord@phillips.com

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Morning Session

New York Auction 15 May | On View at 432 and 450 Park Avenue