Andy Warhol: Pepper Pot

Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans have become synonymous with the Pop art movement, and are responsible for propelling Warhol into a celebrated career in fine art from his day job as a comic illustrator. The motif made its debut in 1962 when Warhol mounted his first solo show featuring 32 canvases painted with Campbell’s Soup Cans—one for each flavor the company sold at the time. But the cans weren’t instantly beloved as they are now. Most critics snubbed the work for its commercial and mundane subject matter, and when the show closed, the gallery’s owner Irving Blum purchased the entire collection for $1,000. Before long, Warhol was using silkscreen to mint the celebrity portraits that would make him a household name. Today, Warhol’s Soup Cans fetch a much higher price—the auction record for the series, $11.8 million, was set by Small Torn Campbell’s Soup Can (Pepper Pot) (1962) in 2006.

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