Andy Warhol - Contemporary Art Day Sale London Monday, June 29, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Private Collection
    Sotheby's, New York, Contemporary Art, 24 September, 2009, Lot 34
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    The iconic Campbell’s Soup Can is the image that truly launched Andy Warhol on the road to becoming one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. It heralded the beginning of the commentary on popular culture that defined his career. Warhol himself was keenly aware of the importance of this image in the development of his work. As he said in an interview with Benjamin H.D. Buchloh in 1985 “I should have done the Campbell’s Soups and kept doing them… because everybody only does one painting anyway”.
    According to folklore, the artist was having dinner with friends Ted Carey and Muriel Latow when the idea was first suggested. In need of some inspiration, he asked Latow for her input. She told him to paint “You should paint something that everybody sees every day, that everybody a can of soup” (M. Latow, quoted in V. Bockris, The Life and Death of Andy Warhol, London, 1998, p. 143). The next morning Warhol went out and bought one of every flavour of Campbell’s soup and started to create one of the most iconic images of American art. This led to his first exhibition in 1962 at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles where he sold all 32 canvases as a set for $1,000. Warhol moved away from painting the image later that year. He believed he could not produce these images fast enough so went in search of another medium that would speed up his process. The photo-mechanical silkscreen we see used to produce this piece was the end result, allowing him to repeat motifs on a large scale and so mimic the commercial methods of mass production.
    1985 was the final year Warhol revisited this subject matter. The piece is a fantastic example of how his style had developed between the seminal works he created in the early 60s, and this monochrome appropriation. Resorting back to his original subject matter, we see Warhol portraying the famous soup can in a way that acts as a homage to his own career. Warhol does this by creating a silkscreen version rather than just a reprint, referring back to the techniques that defined his later works. He pairs this with a monochrome colour scheme as a reference his early career as a commercial illustrator, when black and white imagery was fashionable in advertising. The use of his original subject matter with techniques that defined his art, allows the piece to become a comment on how he himself has become a form of popular culture, as a result of his rise to fame.
    Warhol’s silkscreen prints have proved enormously popular with Art collectors for example the work Triple Elvis, a 1963 silkscreen of Elvis Presley, sold for $81.9 million at auction in November of last year.

    "Do you know that the Campbell’s Soup Company has not sent me a single can of soup?" ANDY WARHOL

    “I used to drink it [Campbell’s Soup]. I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.” ANDY WARHOL

  • Artist Biography

    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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Campbell's Soup Can (Tomato Soup)

synthetic polymer paint, silkscreen ink on canvas
50.6 x 40.7 cm (19 7/8 x 16 in.)
Signed and dated 'Andy Warhol 85' twice on the overlap.

£300,000 - 500,000 

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Head of Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 30 June 2015 2pm