Andy Warhol - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., New York
    Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York
    Christie's New York, 'Post-War and Contemporary Morning Session', 11 November 2010, lot 115
    Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Duchamp’s Leg, 5 November 1994 – 26 March 1995

  • Literature

    G. Frei and N. Printz, eds., The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Sculptures, 1964-1969, vol. 2A, New York, 2004, p. 96, no. 894

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I never think that people die. They just go to department stores.” Andy Warhol
    "But why should I be original? Why can’t I be non-original?” Andy Warhol

    Tomato Juice Box, 1964, featured in Andy Warhol’s first exhibition with the celebrated American art dealer Leo Castelli. It is a quintessential example of the artist’s witty engagement with political, artistic and social systems, and of Warhol’s unerring ability to turn the assembly line into an artistic and aesthetic punch line. Warhol assimilates the familiar Campbell’s branding into his own body of work, and makes startling parallels between low culture and high art, as well as demonstrating a sharp entrepreneurial eye.

    Tomato Juice Box is a development of Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings of 1962, and was made at a point when he was moving from 2-D to 3-D installations, removing sculpture from the plinth in a similar way other artists such as Anthony Caro were also exploring. As well as appropriating Campbell’s tomato juice and soup containers, Warhol also recreated the packaging of other household names such as Brillo, Del Monte and Heinz. In doing so, he raised a series of critical conundrums: “How is it possible for something to be a work of art when something else, which resembles it to whatever degree of exactitude, is merely a thing, or an artefact, but not an artwork? Why is Brillo Box an artwork when the Brillo cartons in the warehouse are merely soap-pad containers?” (A.C. Danto, ‘Andy Warhol: Brillo Box’, Art Forum, New York, 1993).

    The work was in tune with the times. By 1964, a decade of American social activism had resulted in political reforms which would previously have been considered unthinkable. Marginalised groups had collectively mobilised change, with individual acts such as Rosa Parks’s instigation of the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955 leading to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed many forms of racial and social discrimination. Visually, then, Warhol’s work can be seen as a summation of the recently realised power of the individual, framed by an American collective spirit.

    At this time, Warhol was curating and popularising an underground scene at his New York studio, the Factory, with works that not only spoke to the public, but also connected him to art-historical themes such as the notion of individual genius. Indeed, the famous Factory, founded in 1963, can be seen as an updated version of the Renaissance workshops while almost mocking modern industrial systems. But despite creating direct and pointed statements about the mechanisation of production and the rise of capitalist consumption, Warhol’s work is also visually stimulating and appealing. It combines deep pleasure in the graphic with compelling conceptual complexity. By duplicating banal objects, Warhol fuses popular culture with modern art, a powerful mixture which profoundly changed the concept of art and the artist.

    In his own way, Warhol pays homage to Marcel Duchamp, who isolated seemingly quotidian objects and remade them anew in the context of the gallery. Warhol’s appropriations likewise collapsed the structures of a hierarchical art system, whose institutions continually interrogate the cultural worth of individual artists. In an astute twist, Warhol subsumed a famous commercial brand into his own artistic legacy – and as a result Campbell’s soup is nowadays more associated with Warhol’s name than with that of Joseph A Campbell.

  • Artist Biography

    Andy Warhol

    American • 1928 - 1987

    Known as the “King of Pop,” Andy Warhol was the leading face of the Pop Art movement in the United States 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 like Campbell's soup tins, and celebrities like 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 a mentor to such artists as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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Tomato Juice Box

silkscreen ink and house paint on plywood
25.4 x 48.3 x 25.1 cm (10 x 19 x 9 7/8 in)
Stamped with the Estate of Andy Warhol and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and numbered 'SC12.035' on the underside.

£200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for £223,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

14 February 2013