Andy Warhol a soup fan? Analysis of Campbell's soup cans

Lucas Wils
Publié le 5 August 2023
Andy Warhol a soup fan? Analysis of Campbell's soup cans

Produced in 1962, 'Campbell's Soup Cans' depicts cans reproduced using a printing technique popular in the advertising industry: screen printing. Comprising 32 poster-sized canvases, this work employs the semi-industrial process of screen printing to copy an image ad infinitum using stencils. But the story of this iconic work goes far beyond this. Museum TV reveals the secrets behind Andy Warhol's 'Soups'.

A reflection of consumer society

'Campbell's Soup Cans' was inspired by Andy Warhol's mother. During his childhood, the artist consumed soup on a daily basis and collected empty cans. His mother, for her part, created flowers from tin cans, particularly Campbell's cans.

In this sense, the screen-printing technique used by Andy Warhol is a true reflection of consumer society. By reproducing and reusing industrial products, he highlights the imprint that brands leave on consumers' minds. This approach also aims to familiarise children with certain products from an early age.

Andy Warhol a soup fan?  Analysis Campbell's Soup Cans Reflection of consumer society
Illustration picture

In fact, the Pop Art artist created his works in his studio, 'The Factory', which was, in reality, a veritable art factory. Andy Warhol was extremely meticulous in his work: on the 32 cans, he changed the name of each soup, adding variations such as 'beef', 'black bean', 'chicken noodle', and 'onion'. In this way, Andy Warhol was adding flavour to a simple tomato soup!

Several experts are questioning Andy Warhol's inspiration. There is a strange coincidence between the 'Campbell's Soup Cans' series and nine paintings by Pablo Picasso from 1944, in which tomatoes are depicted on a windowsill, with the tomato as the central subject. Was this pure chance or an intentional homage? Whatever the case, 'Tomato Soup' marks the beginning of the iconic 'Campbell's Soup Cans' series.

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