Andy Warhol was an American multidisciplinary artist, painter, sculptor, filmmaker, writer and collector, a pioneer of the movement of Pop Art.
Son of immigrants from Slovakia who settled in the United States, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During 1945-9 he studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and then moved to New York, where he worked first as a shoe designer where he was noticed by the notorious then gallerista Alexander Iolas and promoted him to Glamour magazine as an illustrator.
His involvement with painting began in the early 1960s and was initially influenced by advertising, everyday objects and iconography of comics, with the first examples of writing of Pop Art. With paintings depicting the Campbell company soup cans or bottles of Coca Cola, he has grown in reputation and until 1963 he produced massively this type of sophisticated trivial consumer representations and portraits of celebrities – among them several persons who were symbols of American pop culture – in fancy colors and often screen printing.
Since the mid 1960s, Warhol devoted himself to cinema, directing films that were characterized by experimentation and challenge, the erotic and sometimes their unusual duration.
In his most-known works are the “Chelsea Girls (1966)”, “Eat (1963)”, “My Hustler (1965)” and the “Blue Movie (1969)”. In the movie “Empire (1964)”, lasting eight hours with exclusive footage of the Empire State Building in real time, Warhol exhibited in its most extreme form, his own aesthetic of boring. From 1962 to 1968, his workshop was a space that formerly housed a factory, and so it was named Factory.
It soon became a place of concentration of celebrities, artists, members of the avant-garde and underground culture, drug addicts, homosexuals, music and art lovers.
After his assassination attempt in the Factory from Valerie Solanas, on June 3, 1968, Warhol kept his distance from his unconventional surroundings, associating more wealthy members of high society. Of his work during the 1970s, stand out ordered portraits printed as photo enlargements of Polaroid, many of which were political figures and celebrities of Hollywood.
In the 1980s, he collaborated with Francesco Clemente and new expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. In his later years took up painting again, giving a series of paintings based on religious themes of renaissance, such as the Last Supper (1986).
He died in February 1987 in the city of New York, after complications during a surgery.
Warhol was a systematic collector of jewelry, decorative and folk art, which were auctioned after his death.
The Andy Warhol Museum, with a rich collection of his works, was inaugurated in 1994 in Pittsburgh.
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