Henry Art Gallery

University of Washington / Seattle, WA




Andy Warhol Drawings, 1942 - 1987


"For more than 30 years, Andy Warhol created a coherent, consistent, and prolific body of drawings in which his deepest fears and his ideals of beauty were plainly and simply outlined." - Exhibition curator, Mark Francis


Andy Warhol is best known for his screen prints and large-scale paintings - bold 1960s portrayals of Campbell's soup cans and celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy. He was, however, also a prolific and accomplished draftsman. "Andy Warhol Drawings, 1942 - 1987," the first in-depth survey of its kind, brings together more than 200 rarely exhibited drawings that provide clear evidence that draftsmanship was central to Andy Warhol's artistic production. "Andy Warhol Drawings, 1942 - 1987" is on view in the Henry Art Gallery's Stroum Gallery July 20 - October 8, 2000. (left: Self Portrait, 1986, 40 1/8 x 30 1/4 inches, © 2000 The Andy Warhol Foundation, Image courtesy of the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, Basel, Switzerland, and the Andy Warhol Museum, Pitsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Andy Warhol learned the mechanics of advertising and the language of commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in the late 1940s. His studies in pictorial design and his aptitude for illustration led to his first job as a fashion illustrator. In the 1950s, Warhol was one of the best known and highest paid commercial artists in New York, while at the same time he pursued a career as a "fine artist," further developing his own particular concept of Pop art. Warhol drew often and continuously throughout his life. He produced hundreds of drawings, many of them commercial projects for the publishing and fashion industries. His clients included Vanity Fair, Mademoiselle, and Bergdorf Goodman. Warhol first gained widespread recognition for a 1949 illustration commissioned by Glamour magazine for an article about success. The title of the section, "Success is a Job in New York," embodied Warhol's attitude toward art-making as well as his infatuation with fame and fashion. From his earliest days, Warhol was determined to become famous and worked continuously to construct a persona to fit that future fame. (right: Cat, 1954, 23 x 14 1/2 inches, Illustration for 25 Cats Named Sam and One Blue Pussy, © 2000 The Andy Warhol Foundation, Image courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pitsburgh, Pennsylvania)

"Andy Warhol Drawings, 1942 - 1987" begins with a self-portrait drawn at age 14 and ends with works created in 1987, the year of his death. Warhol's drawings move between the worlds of commercial art and advertising and the New York Pop art scene. On view are intimate portrait studies, whimsical illustrations, and later works that reveal the artist's fascination with celebrity, fame and mortality. The drawings of the early 1960s often combine elements of photography, collage, written instructions of working studies, and on occasion, pencil and crayon or watercolor. Warhol was a great appropriator, snatching images and fragments of consumer culture such as soup cans, money, newspapers, political figures and film stars and using them in his work. Warhol's often simple and mechanical way of working can be seen in the drawings made with the help of his mother, who was responsible for adding the handwritten text as well as the calligraphic "Andy Warhol" signature. (left: Campbell's Soup Can (Chicken Noodle),1962, 23 3/4 x 18 inches, © 2000 The Andy Warhol Foundation, / TM licansed by Campbell Soup Company, All Rights Reserved.)

Many of Warhol's trademark colorful and whimsical drawings of people, animals, insects, shoes and accessories - used in advertisements, as book illustrations, stationary and album covers - are on view in the exhibition. In addition to the drawings, the exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery features paintings, films, photography and documentation of Warhol's social milieu - including taped interviews - that illustrate his days at the Factory where he surrounded himself with literary, artistic and musical "superstars." (left: Two Pears, c. 1957, 14 5/8 x 11 5/16 inches, © 2000 The Andy Warhol Foundation, Image courtesy of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pitsburgh, Pennsylvania)

This exhibition has been organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, and the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, Basel, Switzerland, and curated by Mark Francis, former chief curator of the Andy Warhol Museum. Assistant Curator Robin Held has organized its presentation at the Henry Art Gallery. "Andy Warhol Drawings, 1942 - 1987" is sponsored by the Henry Art Gallery's Contemporary Art Fund, Kayla Skinner Fund and Special Exhibitions Initiative donors.

A 320-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition. The catalogue includes 248 color plates, 15 figures in black and white. Catalogue essays include a foreword by Mark Francis and Dieter Koepplin, an introduction by Mark Francis, and a 33-page essay by Dieter Koepplin. Also included is chronology of Warhol's career. The catalogue is available at the Henry Art Gallery shop.

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For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/18/11

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