May 17, 2015

MODERN ART & DESIGN AUCTION

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Lot 180: Andy Warhol

Lot 180: Andy Warhol

Campbell's Soup I

1968
The complete suite of ten screenprints on paper
#179 of 250
Published by Factory Additions, New York; printed by Salvatore Silkscreen Co., Inc., New York
Each signed in ballpoint pen verso; each stamped with edition verso
Sheets each: 35" x 23"
F/S #II.44-53
Provenance: James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, May 23, 1989)
Literature: Danto, Arthur C., Donna De Salvo, Frayda Feldman, Claudia Defendi, and Jörg Schellmann. Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné: 1962-1987. 4th ed. New York: D.A.P., 2003. 72-73. #II.44-53.
Estimate: $400,000 - $600,000
Price Realized: $481,250
Inventory Id: 19180

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Campbell’s Soup I is a major suite in the Andy Warhol canon. Defining emblems of Warhol’s artistry, these prints are icons of the Pop art movement, and arguably are among the most famous images in all of postwar art. In these prints, Warhol returned to the subject of his first solo show as an artist and to that which made his name: Campbell’s Soup Cans, a group of 32 silkscreened paintings on canvas with hand-lettering (now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York) exhibited in 1962 at the legendary Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

The 1968 Campbell’s Soup I prints represent a refinement of that work. They realize a concept that Warhol expressed often and variously throughout his career, but never more succinctly than when he said: “I want to be a machine.” With the use of the mechanical silkscreen technique, he removed the direct hand of the artist from the artistic process. “Traditional, manual virtuosity no longer mattered,” in light of Warhol and his silkscreens, write art historians Tony Scherman and David Dalton. “The result alone mattered: whether or not it was a striking image. Making art became a series of mental decisions.” This notion turned centuries of fine art orthodoxy on its head. After Warhol, artists would be seen not only as makers of compelling objects, such as painting and sculpture, but also as makers of ideas.

Warhol’s 1962 Campbell’s Soup Cans appear, at first glance, to be faithful and exact replicas of the soup company’s labels. But the handiwork of the artist is noticeable in the slightly askew lettering of the soup names, and in the fleur-de-lis images that run along the bottom of each label (made by using hand-cut rubber stamps). In the fourth edition catalogue raisonné of Warhol prints, curator Donna De Salvo says of the 1968 silkscreens: “The ten screenprints in each portfolio, based on paintings from 1962, possess none of the color variations or painterly effects of the other prints. They remain the most mechanical and uniform prints Warhol ever produced.” Warhol, in other words, improved upon himself—with his 1968 Campbell’s Soup I edition, he made a Warhol more properly a Warhol.

Defendi, Claudia, Frayda Feldman, and Jörg Schellmann, eds. Text by Arthur Danto and Donna De Salvo. Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné; 1962—1987. 4th ed. New York: D.A.P. /Ronald Feldman Fine Arts/The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2003. 72—73. Print. Dorment, Richard. “What Is an Andy Warhol?” New York Review of Books (2009). Web. Scherman, Tony, and David Dalton. Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol. New York: Harper Collins, 2009. Print.

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