Warhol, Andy

from The New Book of Knowledge®

ART HISTORY ON DEMAND > Artists

The American artist and filmmaker Andy Warhol is often called the Prince of Pop. He was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 6, 1928. His parents were Czech immigrants. He studied art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh. After graduating in 1949, he settled in New York City, where he became a successful commercial artist.

By the early 1960's Warhol had won recognition as a painter, though his works were controversial at first. His technique was meticulous, yet his themes disregarded traditional artistic standards. A leader in the style that came to be called pop art, Warhol drew from American popular culture for his subjects. Among the familiar images he depicted were consumer products, such as Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell's soup cans, and the faces of celebrities, from actress Marilyn Monroe to Chinese leader Mao Zedong. Using a printmaking process called silk screening, he duplicated these images many times over, varying only the colors. This repetition is an important element in understanding his work.

Warhol himself became a celebrity. He wore a platinum white wig and was devoted to showmanship and art collecting. He also made experimental films, produced records, and wrote books such as The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (1975). He died in New York City on February 22, 1987, of a heart attack, following gallstone surgery. He was buried in Pittsburgh.

Howard E. Wooden
Director Emeritus
The Wichita Art Museum

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