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Andy Warhol, ‘Highway Overview’, 1976-1986, Phillips


From the Catalogue:
Andy Warhol’s early drawings and works on paper were fundamental in the development of his oeuvre and career. Initially overlooked by the fine art world, he was celebrated for his commercial illustrations in the 1940’s and 50’s. Warhol’s first contract was for the September cover of Glamour magazine in 1948, and was followed by a major commission for shoe advertisements with the women’s shoe company I Miller & Sons in 1955, which “made him rich before he launched into pop art.” Warhol’s signature style of commercial illustration was instantly recognizable, and subsequently Warhol “became New York’s most sought-after illustrator of ladies’ accessories.”

Warhol also produced eight self-published artist books between 1953 and 1960, with which he intended to promote his illustration business to potential clients. The imagery in these books drew inspiration from children’s storybooks, historical sources and popular culture. The popularization of French cuisine in New York in the late 1950s inspired Warhol and friend Suzie Frankfurt to create the book Wild Raspberries, which parodies chef August Escoffier’s esteemed Le guide culinaire (1907) and Ingmar Berman’s 1957 film Wild Strawberries.

Warhol moved away from his early drawing and illustration style, consequently declining to exhibit or talk much about his hand-painted pre-Pop works. Despite Warhol’s reticence and the near-disappearance of these early works from the public eye, one cannot deny their importance in the development of Warhol’s mature practice – pulling influence and inspiration from popular culture, these works on paper are as signature Warhol as anything that would follow.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed "Andy Warhol" on the reverse

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, PA, United States, based in New York, NY, United States