Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can’s  

The inspiration for Andy Warhol’s 32 Campbell’s soup cans.

(The information here was researched using some sources. Please see the bottom of the post for attribution)

When talking about Warhol and the Campbell’s Soup can you have to start at the beginning? They undoubtedly started the journey as an unknown commercial artist to pop superstar for Andy Warhol.

The story of Andy’s soup cans starts in December of 61 or January of 62. It takes place in New York and California but centers around Warhol’s current studio of the day.

The studio referenced was 1342 Lexington a four story townhome. Andy bought the property in 1959 for $70,000. Referenced as the townhome shoes paid for, at the time Andy was still a commercial artist selling a continuous stream of images of women’s shoes for $100 a piece.

For better or worse here is the tale of Andy’s Soup cans.

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In the Spring of 1962, while wrapping up some new ads and-and comic strips, Andy visited a Roy Lichtenstein exhibit at Leo Castelli Gallery. The gallery owner was a friend and trying to convince Warhol to put together yet another show. Mind you he wasn’t offering to represent Warhol. Just encouraging him to continue to produce work that a gallery might exhibit.At this point, Warhol had failed to make an impact on the art world. His previous shows dating back to 1954 had all been failures.

Warhol fell into a depression about not having a gallery that would represent him. A friend (Ted Carey) asked Andy out to dinner (this would be in December of 61 or January of 62) but because he was depressed Andy refused. Instead, Carey and a friend of HIS dropped by Andy Warhol’s house. It was here that the interior designer Muriel Latow came up with Campbell’s Soup  Cans. Here is the exact quoted conversation according to Ted Carey on the warholsstars.org website.

tedcarey-and-andy-warhol

Andy Warhols and Ted Carey

Ted Carey:

“I said, ‘John, Muriel [Latow] and I are having dinner tonight. Do you want to have dinner with us?’ And he [Andy Warhol] said, ‘No, I’m just too depressed.’ So, I said, ‘Maybe we’ll come by afterward.’ … So after dinner, we went to Andy’s, and he was very depressed… Andy said I’ve got to do something.’ He said, ‘the cartoon paintings… it’s too late. I’ve got to do something that really will have a lot of impacts that will be different enough from Lichtenstein and Rosenquist, that will be very personal, that won’t look like I’m doing exactly what they’re doing.’ And he said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ So, he said, ‘Muriel, you’ve got fabulous ideas. Can’t you give me an idea?’ And, so, Muriel said… ‘You’ve got to find something that’s recognizable to almost everybody. Something you see every day that everybody would recognize. Something like a can of Campbell’s Soup.’ So Andy said, ‘oh that sounds fabulous.’ So, the next day Andy went out to the supermarket – because we went by the next day – and we came in, and he had a case of… all the soups…”(12)

What Latow couldn’t know was Andy’s mother had fed him Campbell’s soup every day since he was a child. The very next Andy Warhol went to the supermarket and picked up cans of Campbell Soup.

No one knows for sure exactly how the conversation went. But there IS a cheque dated November 23, 1961, from Warhol to Latow. Both parties stated that it was payment for the idea.

The “soup cans” were produced tracing projections onto the canvas. These paintings were produced for a show opening in Los Angeles at the Ferus Gallery. They were expecting comic strips and instead got 32 different Campbells soup cans. The complete set was famously purchased by Irving Blum for $1000.00. He would eventually sell the set for $16,000,000.

warhol-soup-cans-469x292

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans 1968

In 1968 Warhol moved his studio from 47th street to the sixth floor of 33 union square west. This is also the same year that Andy Warhol was shot.  He revisits his “soup cans” concept.

andy-warhol-soup-cans-1968

This was a portfolio of 10 screen prints.

Salvatore Silkscreen Co, Inc. New York was the printer.

The publisher was Factory Additions.

Dimensions: sheet 35 1/8 x 23

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans 1969

Warhol again revisits his beloved soup cans. The same year he undergoes surgery, takes over operations in a porn theater and fails to get a Hollywood movie deal. Source:

soup-ii-portfolio

This was a portfolio of 10 screen prints.

Salvatore Silkscreen Co, Inc. New York was the printer.

The publisher was Factory Additions.

Dimensions: sheet 35 1/8 x 23

Andy Warhol Quotes related to his Campbell’s Soup Cans

“I should have just done the Campbell’s Soups and kept on doing them…. because everyone only does one painting anyway”

“I’ve got to do something that really will have a lot of impact that will be different enough from Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist, that will be very personal; that won’t look like I’m doing exactly what they are doing.

Attribution:

Andy Warhol – A Documentary

Part I

Part II

www.warholstars.org – “The soup cans” “The Timeline” “Nov 23 1961: Andy Warhol Writes a check to Muriel Latow for $50.”

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