Before devoting his time to painting and exhibiting his iconic pop art pieces, Andy Warhol worked as a commercial artist in New York City. During the 1950s, he illustrated shoes for Glamour Magazine and did freelance work for corporate clients including Tiffany and Co., Vogue, and RCA Records. Warhol’s unique drawing style earned him many awards, and he became one of the most sought-after commercial artists of the decade.
Throughout the rest of his career, Warhol continued to be fascinated with advertisements and their strong influence on American culture. His work aimed to blur the line between commercial art and fine art.
In 1985, just two years before his death, Warhol produced Ads Portfolio, a series of popular advertisements transformed into individual works of art. The ten images, screen printed on Lenox Museum Board, feature brands like Macintosh, Chanel, and Volkswagen, and famous figures Judy Garland, James Dean, and Ronald Regan.
Ads Portfolio has a hand-drawn quality that is absent from some of the artist’s most famous works. This style nods to Warhol’s early commercial illustrations, which were whimsical and imprecise compared to the mechanical technique of his Campbell’s Soup Cans or Marylin Monroe series.
Even 30 years later, the companies that Warhol chose for his 1985 series are still booming, and the celebrities remain iconic household names. This shows us Warhol’s intuitive understanding of the brands around him, as well as the timeless power of advertising in our culture.
To view works from Ads Portfolio, or other pieces by Andy Warhol, please contact us to schedule a private appointment.