Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Andrew Warhola was born into a relatively poor, eastern European immigrant family on August 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh. After suffering a nervous breakdown at the age of eight, he was bedridden for several weeks. During this period, comics and movies, as well as his own drawing and crafts, acquired a great deal of meaning for him. After high school, he studied visual design in Pittsburgh from 1945 to 1949. Upon graduating, he moved to New York, changed his name to Andy Warhol, and began working in advertising graphics and window decoration, among other things. His drawings and illustrations made him very successful. They were published, awarded prizes, and exhibited, while he became one of New York’s highest-paid graphic designers. In 1957 he founded Andy Warhol Enterprises, Inc. Warhol wanted to transfer elements of advertising and graphic design to the fine arts. He found his motifs in everyday culture, and in the early 1960s, he discovered that silkscreening was the right technique for him. More and more, he rejected the role of the brilliant autonomous artist, in favor of a mechanical approach to making art. He felt that the artist should be guided by the rules of the market. His first exhibition in Los Angeles in 1962 featured his legendary Campbell’s Soupcans, and quickly triggered widespread controversy. Like no other artist before him, Warhol figured out how to gain worldwide fame by creating not only art, but also his own trademark image. His Factory—actually a studio—came to represent the epitome of art, music, and glamour. Warhol was also a music producer, and in 1963 he began making films, as well. He owned a modeling agency, wrote books, and produced plays. His art was backed up by his emphatically artificial appearance, and a cryptic, trivial method of verbal expression. He seemed reserved and unapproachable, but at the same time, he was so present in every kind of media that he attained a mythical status, even during his lifetime. In 1967 Bischofberger acquired the option to become Warhol’s first dealer with a 'right of first refusal'. He encouraged him for years to keep producing his celebrity portraits, and in 1969 he participated in the founding of Warhol’s magazine, Interview. In the early 1970s Bischofberger commissioned the portraits of Mao, and in 1984 he also commissioned and exhibited the Collaborations by Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente. In his diary, Warhol repeatedly said that the paintings by the younger artists scared him, but also strongly inspired him. He died on February 22, 1987, in New York, of complications following a gall bladder operation.