Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928,
in Pittsburgh. He received his B.F.A. from the Carnegie Institute of
Technology, Pittsburgh, in 1949. That same year, he moved to New York,
where he soon became successful as a commercial artist and illustrator.
During the 1950s, Warhol’s drawings were published in Glamour and
other magazines and displayed in department stores. He became known for
his illustrations of I. Miller shoes. In 1952, the Hugo Gallery in New
York presented a show of Warhol’s illustrations for Truman Capote’s
writings. He traveled in Europe and Asia in 1956.
By the early 1960s, Warhol began to paint comic-strip
characters and images derived from advertisements; this work was
characterized by repetition of banal subjects such as Coca-Cola bottles
and soup cans. He also painted celebrities at this time. Warhol’s new
painting was exhibited for the first time in 1962, initially at the Ferus
Gallery, Los Angeles, then in a solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery, New
York. By 1963, he had substituted a silkscreen process for hand painting.
Working with assistants, he produced series of disasters, flowers, cows,
and portraits, as well as three-dimensional facsimile Brillo boxes and
cartons of other well-known household products.
Starting in the mid-1960s, at The Factory, his New York
studio, Warhol concentrated on making films that were marked by repetition
and an emphasis on boredom. In the early 1970s, he began to paint again,
returning to gestural brushwork, and produced monumental portraits of Mao
Tse-tung, commissioned portraits, and the Hammer and Sickle series.
He also became interested in writing: his autobiography, The Philosophy
of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), was published in
1975, and The Factory published Interview magazine. A major
retrospective of Warhol’s work organized by the Pasadena Art Museum in
1970 traveled in the United States and abroad. Warhol died February 22,
1987, in New York.