Collection 1940s–1970s

Andy Warhol. Campbell's Soup Cans. 1962 476

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). © 2023 Andy Warhol Foundation / ARS, NY / TM Licensed by Campbell's Soup Co. All rights reserved.

Curator, Ann Temkin: This work consists of 32 separate canvases. And in fact, at the point at which Andy Warhol made these, these were the 32 kinds of Campbell's soup that you could find on the shelf in the supermarket.

One of the things that Warhol became interested in in the early 1960s was the idea of thinking about painting in terms of repetition rather than in terms of uniqueness. So for this he would use new processes including silk screening, rubber stamping, as well as painting by hand. He would project a drawing of the soup can onto the canvas in order to make sure that each one was done exactly alike. There's nothing here at all that's trumpeting the originality of the artist, the self-expression of the artist.

The Campbell's Soup Cans represent the beginning moment of Pop art. The Pop artists, in many cases, and certainly in Warhol's, came from working-class backgrounds. Bringing normal American topics, values, habits into the world of fine art was very important to them, I think both artistically and ethically. For Warhol, there was something very radical and daring to say that in a rich art collector's home, what would be on the wall would not be some kind of elitist subject, but a subject so ordinary and mundane and typical of American life as a tin can of soup.

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