Modern and Contemporary Art

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Campbell's Soup I: Onion, 1968

Andy Warhol

American, 1928-1987
Silkscreen on paper
35-1/2 x 23-1/8 in. (90.2 x 58.7 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase, 1969
© 2015 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

The first Campbell’s Soup Can paintings were shown at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1962. The exhibition of 32 paintings met with such ridicule and derision that a neighboring gallery put actual soup cans in its window and labeled them “the real thing,” sold for twenty-nine cents.

The original Soup Can paintings were meant to depict objects so common and everyday that no one would even notice them, but what Warhol ended up making were infamous images with which he would become synonymous.

The banality of hundreds of soup cans on a grocer’s shelf is magnified in these silkscreens, which are blown up larger than life. Silver and gold metallic inks embellish the straight-on portrayals of popular flavors, such as Pepper Pot, Black Bean and Tomato. The images’ clean, crisp lines are indicative of the silkscreen method, and the use of this mass-reproduction process parallels the mass marketing, production and consumption of the food items themselves.

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