Andy Warhol and Soup

By Franklin Hill Perrell

Andy Warhol’s most acclaimed and iconic image is the Campbell Soup can, an image which has become virtually synonymous with his artistic identity. First hand drawn, and later captured in silhouette through silkscreen stencils, he has revisited it throughout his career. The earliest versions date from 1962 and they defined the style of the Pop Art movement: flat, frontal, boldly colored, and iconic in their familiarity from everyday life. According to Robert Indiana, Warhol painted Campbell soup because he liked the product. The same held true with his subjects like Coca Cola and money.

dsc_0005Warhol revisits his 1960s subject during the 1980’s with his soup in a box paintings. As Warhol is known for repeating and varying his early images, an added irony is that Campbell soup revisited its own iconic product, later repackaging it to add to its appeal as an instant consumable food. Over the intervening years, Warhol refined his style of producing paintings by silkscreen stencils, and the individuality within this series is heightened both by variety of soup, (here onion mushroom), and by Warhol’s method whereby images transcriptions become off register in different ways for each piece. It’s easy to distinguish the several layers of stenciling, and the unique character of separately colored areas; a phenomenon that contradicts expected sameness, paradoxically heightening the uniqueness of each piece.

 

Feast for the Eyes: Art Inspired by Food and Dining
Nassau County Museum of Art
Through November 6, 2016

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