Andy Warhol. Campbell's Soup Cans. 1962. Acrylic with metallic enamel paint on canvas, 32 panels, Each canvas 20 x 16" (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Overall installation with 3" between each panel is 97" high x 163" wide. Partial gift of Irving Blum, Additional funding provided by Nelson A. Rockefeller Bequest, gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund, gift of Nina and Gordon Bunshaft, acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, Philip Johnson Fund, Frances R. Keech Bequest, gift of Mrs. Bliss Parkinson, and Florence B. Wesley Bequest (all by exchange)

“The more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away.”

Andy Warhol

Two exhibitions in 1962 announced Andy Warhol’s dramatic entry into the art world. In July, at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, he exhibited his now-iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans. The work’s 32 canvases, each one featuring a different variety of the company’s 32 soups, were lined up in a single row on a ledge that wrapped around the gallery. “Cans sit on shelves,” the gallery director, Irving Blum, later said of the installation. “Why not?”1 The paintings marked a breakthrough for Warhol, who had previously worked as a commercial illustrator: they were among his first works based on consumer goods, and among the first to embrace serial repetition. Although he hand-painted each canvas, they were made to seem mechanically produced.

Later that year, Warhol mounted an exhibition at New York’s Stable Gallery, displaying silkscreen prints with a flat uniformity that would become his signature style. The silkscreen, at the time primarily a commercial technique, allowed a theoretically endless number of repetitions and variations of his chosen subject. The exhibition included numerous portraits of legendary actress Marilyn Monroe, whose recent suicide sent shockwaves through American popular culture. In Gold Marilyn Monroe, Warhol memorialized Monroe by screening her face onto a gold-painted canvas, recalling the look of a Byzantine icon.

Strategies drawn from printmaking, including multiplicity, mirroring, transfer, and replication, would prove central and enduring tenets in Warhol’s work. Throughout the 1960s, he continued to mine the world of celebrity for his art, creating images of stars and public figures so familiar that they were often known by only their first name: Elvis, Jackie, and, again, Marilyn. Likewise, his engagement with the subject of commodity culture signaled in Campbell’s Soup Cans would find a sculptural analogue in his boxes silkscreened with the labels of Campbell’s tomato juice, Brillo soap pads, and Heinz ketchup. “The more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel,” Warhol would remark.2 His Death and Disaster series, begun in 1963, tests that statement. In works like Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times and Electric Chairs, the force of repetition rendered the scenes at once banal and more emphatically traumatic.

Warhol was also a pioneering and prolific filmmaker. His famous Screen Tests, made between 1964 and 1966, consist of 472 individual filmed portraits of visitors to his legendary studio, known as the Factory. A testament to his perennial interest in portraiture, the Screen Tests also advanced a new definition of film performance, starring non-professionals whose only task was to remain silent and still for the duration of a roll of film. Other works challenged the limits of audience attention, such as Empire, an eight-hour stationary shot of the Empire State Building. Drawing from a range of genres, Warhol also made scripted, feature-length films that delved into New York’s underground subcultures and turned the Factory’s collection of artists and misfits into “superstars.”

By 1971, New York magazine had dubbed Warhol “The Zeitgeist incarnate,” declaring, “The images he leaves will be the permanent record of America in the sixties.” He had launched his own magazine, Interview, in 1969, and in the years that followed he circulated in the world of celebrity he had long represented in his art. In the 1980s, he returned to painting in works like the giant Rorschach. As suggested by Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation 1473, he also turned his creative attentions to art history itself.

Two years after his death in 1987, MoMA mounted its first retrospective of his work. Since then, Warhol’s stature has only grown, as the influence of his work—in its merging of pop culture and fine art, its exploitation of the serial logic of the print, and his own canny media manipulation and self-fashioning—continues to reverberate.

Natalie Dupêcher, independent scholar, 2019

  1. Irving Blum, interview with Peter M. Brant, Interview magazine (April 19, 2012); quoted in Hillary Reder, “Serial & Singular: Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans,” Inside/Out.

  2. Andy Warhol in Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett, POPism: The Warhol ’60s (New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), 50.

Wikipedia entry
Andy Warhol (; born Andrew Warhola Jr.; August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American visual artist, film director and producer. A leading figure in the pop art movement, Warhol is considered one of the most important American artists of the second half of the 20th century. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture that flourished by the 1960s, and span a variety of media, including painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and sculpture. Some of his best-known works include the silkscreen paintings Campbell's Soup Cans (1962) and Marilyn Diptych (1962), the experimental films Empire (1964) and Chelsea Girls (1966), and the multimedia events known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966–67). Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s. After exhibiting his work in art galleries, he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist in the 1960s. His New York studio, The Factory, became a well-known gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy patrons. He directed and produced several underground films starring a collection of personalities known as Warhol superstars, and is credited with inspiring the widely used expression "15 minutes of fame." Warhol managed and produced the experimental rock band the Velvet Underground. He also founded Interview and authored numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. In June 1968, Warhol was almost killed by radical feminist Valerie Solanas, who shot him inside his studio. After gallbladder surgery, Warhol died of cardiac arrhythmia in February 1987 at the age of 58 in New York. Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city of Pittsburgh, which holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives, is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to a single artist. Warhol has been described as the "bellwether of the art market". Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. His works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold. In 2013, a 1963 serigraph titled Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) sold for $105 million. In 2022, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964) sold for $195 million, which is the most expensive work of art sold at auction by an American artist.
Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
Getty record
Andy Warhol earned his BFA from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949. Early in his career, he was a successful commercial artist and illustrator, and his work was published in magazines and a variety of print media. In the 1960s, he helped launch the Pop movement with his silkscreened paintings of soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, celebrities, and comic strips, as well as his prints and sculptures of common objects and household products. His studio, known as the Factory, became a magnet for extreme personalities, and he began shooting films there ca. 1963. In 1965 he announced that he would give up painting for filmmaking, though he continued to produce paintings and prints. His films tested the notion of endurance, 'Sleep' and 'Empire' lasting 5 and 8 hours, respectively. His filmed portraits were often static images of a single subject prolonged over the length of a single reel of film. Warhol embraced media of all kinds, producing experimental books, video works, and multiples. In 1966 and 1967 together with the Velvet Underground he produced the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a series of multimedia events, as well as an album. He survived an assassination attempt in 1968. During the 1970s he focussed on commissioned portraits, and also founded the magazine 'Interview,' which continues to be published. He is considered by many to be one of the most influential artists of the late 20th century.
Artist, Cinematographer, Writer, Publisher, Commercial Artist, Collector, Graphic Artist, Illustrator, Installation Artist, Painter, Performance Artist, Photographer, Sculptor
Andy Warhol, Andrew Warhol, Andrew Warhola, Andrej Varchola, Andrej Warhola
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License


271 works online



  • Andy Warhol: Campbell’s Soup Cans Paperback, 48 pages
  • MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art Flexibound, 408 pages
  • MoMA Now: Highlights from The Museum of Modern Art—Ninetieth Anniversary Edition Hardcover, 424 pages
  • Being Modern: Building the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 288 pages
  • Andy Warhol Hardcover, 56 pages
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  • Andy Warhol Paperback, 48 pages
  • Andy Warhol: A Retrospective Exhibition catalogue, Paperback, pages



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