Chicken Noodle

 
Series
Campbell's Soup I
Artist
Creation date
Publisher
Factory Editions, New York
Materials
screenprint
Mark Descriptions
signed and inscribed, verso, in ink, L.R.: Andy Warhol S
Dimensions
35 1/8 x 23 1/8 in.
Credit line
Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art
Accession number
2003.79
Collection
Not Currently On View

In a decisive Pop art moment, Warhol exhibited a painted portrait of each of the 32 varieties of Campbell's soup cans in 1962 and ennobled these common commodities into surprisingly grand and imposing works of art.

Warhol, who had begun screenprinting his paintings in 1962, turned to printmaking in 1967 and again chose Campbell's soup cans for his first portfolio of prints.

"I knew Andy very well.  The reason he painted soup cans is that he liked soup."
-Robert Indiana
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Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Offering an alternative to the nonobjective, introspective paintings of the Abstract Expressionists, Pop artists surprised the public with the familiar, the obvious, and the populist. They lifted their images from newspapers, magazines, television, and movies, the media through which most Americans received their daily dose of the visual arts.

In 1962, Warhol painted thirty-two identical "portraits" of Campbell's soup cans, one for each available variety. These constituted his first one-man show. In 1967, when Warhol gave up painting and established a workshop called Factory Additions to produce prints, he turned again to Campbell's soup cans. Like the paintings, his twenty screen prints were identical in all ways except the varietal name.

Like many of his fellow Pop artists, Warhol was a former commercial artist who knew that every label derives its appeal from the bedrock principles of color and design. By divorcing a soup can from the clutter of the pantry, magnifying it, rendering it in the lustrous colors of a screen print, and isolating it against a pristine white background, Warhol elevated this tossable commodity into a commanding American icon.

I knew Andy very well. The reason he painted soup cans is that he liked soup.
-Artist Robert Indiana, 2002