Andy Warhol: 10 Fun Facts
Andy Warhol is the iconic master of Pop art and has, without a doubt, become a household name. Everyone knows his playful and cheeky Campbell’s Soup Cans and his vibrant and bold portraits of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Liza Minelli and Michael Jackson. However, as this list will attest, there are plenty of fun and interesting facts about the seminal artist of cool that will surprise even the most avid Warhol fan!
- Warhol’s real last name is Warhola, he dropped the “a” when he moved to New York in 1949. His family emigrated from Miková, a small village in Slovakia, and Andy felt the shorter last name was more attractive as he pursued a commercial art career.
- He adopted his signature gray-haired shag style while still in his early twenties, so people would notice how young he looked. Warhol, the clever trickster, recruited his friend and actor Allen Midgette to impersonate him during a college lecture tour. Midgette did not actually look like Warhol, but wore the shaggy hair, black turtleneck and Wayfarer sunglasses with aplomb.
- At the age of twenty-nine, Warhol had a nose job to remove the rounded contour on the bridge of his nose, which he hated. No wonder he later painted Before and After showing a young woman’s pre-plastic surgery nose and the post-nose job profile.
- Warhol was the first artist to publicly exhibit video art. In 1965, he announced that he was retiring from Pop art and planned to devote himself entirely to film. He cultivated a retinue of counterculture and bohemian artists to participate in his Factory films such as Edie Sedgwick, Nico, Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis.
- Not only did Warhol start fabled pop culture magazine “Interview,” but he also created two cable television programs, one titled “Andy Warhol’s TV” and the other “Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes” which aired on MTV from 1985 to 1987.
- Warhol was obsessed with timeless Hollywood icon, Elizabeth Taylor and created many portraits featuring the fabulous actress. He began painting her when Taylor became sick during the filming of Cleopatra and Warhol was convinced she would die. Taylor lived, and Warhol fulfilled a lifelong dream by starring with his crush in her 1973 film The Driver’s Seat.
- Warhol loved collecting taxidermy and counted a stuffed lion, moose head, peacock, penguin, and a Great Dane named Cecil, in his herd. In fact, the Great Dane’s name was actually Ador Tipp Topp and was a blue-ribbon winner at the Westminster Dog Show. After the dog died, he was stuffed by a taxidermist at Yale, and eventually sold to a drama student for $10.
- Warhol’s artwork is instantly recognizable, be it his neon prints of flowers, skulls and dollar signs or his flashy and chromatic celebrity portraits featuring stars like Elvis, Judy Garland and Muhammad Ali. Warhol also wasn’t afraid to get political.
- In 1976, the Democratic National Committee commissioned Warhol to create several portraits of the Democratic Nominee, Jimmy Carter. The majority of these pieces, including the sketches, remain at The Carter Center to this day. A selection of these pieces were signed both Warhol and Carter. This commission was an attempt from the DNC to use Warhol’s cultural icon status to appeal to voters.
- While Warhol clearly idolized movie stars and public figures, he was not one for sports. Throughout his entire career, Warhol only worked with a single athlete, Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky himself was a fan of Warhol, and when a Canadian art collector suggested that he sit for a Warhol portrait, both parties made themselves available.
Andy Warhol was a complex, immensely-talented and fascinating artist who truly cemented himself in the history of art, pop culture and New York.
If you are looking to sell or loan against your fine art, please contact The Loan Companies at our Beverly Hills or New York offices. Additionally, we also purchase and lend against platinum or gold jewelry, signed jewelry, diamonds, fine watches and luxury handbags.