The Andy Warhol Soup Can Story

The Andy Warhol Soup Can is probably his best known work of art. It is interesting that he was an artist that produced thousands of pieces of art including many portraits of big name celebrities that he be remembered so well by the paintings of those humble Campbell's Tomato Soup Cans.

He did not make just one soup can. Actually he made many variations and not always tomato. He had versions with about 100 cans stacked on top of one another. This online art gallery of common variations include contrasting colors not used on the real cans of soup and using chicken noodle, vegetable soup and other flavors offered at the time.

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Campbell's Soup I (Tomato...
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Campbell's Soup Can, c.19...
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Campbell's Soup Can, c.19...
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Big Torn Campbell's Soup ...
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One Hundred Cans, c.1962
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Campbell's Tomato Juice, c.1964
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Background Story
There is a fun story on how the Andy Warhol Soup Can came about but first some background. His career had centered around high fashion and shoes in particular for magazines and stores in New York City during the 1950s. He was a huge financial success as an illustrator but not as a "serious artist" and that fact bothered him greatly.

How Andy Warhol Paintings Became Famous
The Pop Art movement was underway but Andy's work had not yet caught on with the public. He was at a party and was speaking to an art consultant. At that time he would frequently as his friends and acquaintances "What should I paint?" meaning, what subject matter should he paint in order to catch on the popular style.

The $50 Consultant
Usually when he would ask the question people responded with ideas they thought he should pursue. This woman had a different approach. She said "I will tell you but you must pay me $50 for my advice." Andy whipped out his check book and wrote her the check. She then asked him "What do you like most?" and he responded, "money." She said "Then you should paint money." She then advised him to paint something very commonplace in his life, something part of his scenery and he said the best choice would be the soup cans.

From that time on Any painted pictures of dollar bills and the Campbell's soup cans and then used the silk screen to help him mass produce the art in great numbers. Soon his art caught the eye of a big name gallery and his "serious artist" career took off.

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