Did you know that the painting of a can of soup is considered to be one of the world's greatest masterpieces?
Artist Andy Warhol drew Campbell's Soup Cans between November 1961 and March or April 1962. The works were exhibited on July 9, 1962 in the Ferus Gallery of Los Angeles, California. When they were first displayed, the 32 canvases, each consisting of a painting of a different flavour of Campbell's Soup, met with a lot of ridicule for their ordinary subject matter. In fact, a neighbouring gallery even put actual soup cans on its window and advertised them as cheaper than Warhol's works (the cans cost only 29 cents). What did these rows upon rows of identical soup cans actually mean?
Well, though the paintings portrayed everyday, seemingly ordinary objects, they carried a deeper meaning. First, they were a commentary on how mass production and consumerism had come to dominate American life and culture.
Second, just like the mass production of the soup cans. Warhol mass produced the paintings, using the silkscreen printing process that allowed him to create multiple versions of a single work.
He traced the images of a soup can onto his blank canvas, and then carefully filled each can using old fashioned brushes and paint. But each painting had a slight imperfection-a smudge, misprint or a slightly skewed label.
This also served as a contradiction to the Pop art culture. Pop artists usually tried to erase all traces of individuality from their work so that it looks almost identical. Although Warhol's soup cans were supposed to look like they'd been made mechanically, every painting had a slight difference. The paintings caused a sensation throughout the art world.
DID YOU KNOW?
- When the public finally warmed up to Warhol's soup cans the art began to appear everywhere Warhol himself designed paper dresses in soup can print for New York socialites. Later, the Campbell company too joined in the fun. They came out with the Souper Dress covered in Warhol-esque soup labels.
- In May 1969, Warhol appeared on the cover of the Esquire magazine drowning in a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup.
- In 1996, The Museum of Modern Art in New York bought the 32 paintings from Irving Blum (who had purchased them from Warhol only for $1.000) for more than $15 million. Even the Souper Dress has been declared a classic.
Picture Credit : Google