Andy Warhol, ‘Campbell's Soup Box Onion Mushroom’, 1986, Heritage Auctions
Andy Warhol, ‘Campbell's Soup Box Onion Mushroom’, 1986, Heritage Auctions
Andy Warhol, ‘Campbell's Soup Box Onion Mushroom’, 1986, Heritage Auctions
Andy Warhol, ‘Campbell's Soup Box Onion Mushroom’, 1986, Heritage Auctions

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Box Onion Mushroom (1986) is a fantastic example of the artist's fascination with society's innate materialism and the American Dream. Warhol transformed products of popular consumer culture into works of art. What made this American Dream, he explained, "was that I established a tradition in which the richest consumers basically bought the same products as the poorest" (Klaus Honnef, "Andy Warhol," Modern Art, p. 474). Warhol's works reflects how inherent the desire is to possess material commodities and that consumption is not just a visual experience, but also a psychological and emotional one. The present work, Campbell's Soup Box Onion Mushroom, is a testament to Warhol's efforts in merging American consumerism and mass-market advertising. Like Duchamp, Warhol created his works strategically, providing an acute reflection of daily life and drawing attention to the banal. From Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell Soup boxes to celebrity figures like Marilyn Monroe, Warhol reproduced these icons to provide an essence of everyday American life. His works soon became a window onto the American consumer realm, confronting the underlying subject of ads and its impact on the American psyche. His deadpan works not only reveal society's obsession with these objects, but also its fascination with marketing, packaging and promotion. Out of all of Warhol's advertising themes, perhaps his Campbell Soup compositions are the most notable. His emphasis on Campbell Soup stemmed from a childhood memory, stating that "I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again. Someone said my life has dominated me; I liked that idea" (Gene R. Swenson, "Interview with Andy Warhol," 1993, p. 131). Warhol's mechanical silkscreen process serves as an interesting metaphor for his paintings. The industrialization of his artistic process and the notion of mass production in his works occur simultaneously. The same way the consumer items he depicts are mass produced, so too are his paintings. Warhol always liked the idea of the machine as it became integrated in his work and eventually deeming his own studio "The Factory."

Signature: Stamped with signature, dated, and inscribed in ink on the overlap: Andy Warhol Certified © 1986 A1090.6

The artist; James D. Perry, New York, gift from the above, circa 1986; Jeffrey Milburn, gift from the above; Andrew B. Cambron, acquired from the above, November 1989; Oliver's, Inc., Kennebunkport, Maine; Art Brokerage, Inc., Idaho; Private collection, acquired from the above, March 1991.

About Andy Warhol

Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.

American, 1928-1987, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York