Andy Warhol: leader of the American Pop Art movement

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Andy Warhol was an US painter, film-maker and author, and one of the leading figure of the American Pop Art movement.

His artwork explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s.

Warhol was born on August 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His parents had emigrated to the USA from Slovaquia.

Between 1945 and 1949 Warhol studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. In 1949, he moved to New York and changed his name to Warhol.

He worked as a commercial artist for magazines and also designed advertising and window displays.

In the early 1960s, he began to experiment with reproductions based on advertisements, newspaper headlines and other mass-produced images from American popular culture such as Campbell's soup tins and Coca Cola bottles.

In 1962, he began his series portraits of Marilyn Monroe. Other subjects given similar treatment included Jackie Kennedy and Elvis Presley. The same year he took part in the New Realists exhibition in New York, which was the first important survey of Pop Art.

In 1963, Warhol started to get into the cinema industry, making experimental films. His studio, known as the Factory, became a meeting point for young artists. One of them, Valerie Solanas, shot and seriously wounded him in 1968.

Between the 1970s and 1980s he exhibited his work around the world.

He was also a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1984, two years before his death. He founded Interview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. He is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement.

He coined the widely used expression "15 minutes of fame". Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$105 million for a 1963 canvas titled "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)".

On 22 February 1987, Warhol died unexpectedly in a New York hospital following a gall bladder operation.


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