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Andy Warhol Boot c1956 gouache, gold paper lace, ink

Andy Warhol (United States of America 1928–1987)

Boot c1956
gouache, gold paper lace, ink
58.0 x 36.5 cm
Collection of the National Gallery of Australia
Purchased 1983

Warhol was ambitious from the very start and, on completion of his studies in Pittsburgh, New York beckoned. In 1949 he set off to make a name for himself in New York, working as an illustrator of magazines and books, a window dresser and a designer of advertisements. Warhol developed a characteristic understated, quirky hand-drawn style, using a blotted-line technique. Most successful were Warhol’s shoe advertisements for the company I. Miller and Sons.

Despite his commercial background, Warhol was keen to be considered as a serious artist. He had two exhibitions of his drawings at the Bodley Gallery in New York in the mid 1950s. The first was of erotic male nudes, the next of golden slippers, richly ornate and embossed. One such drawing made at this time was Boot, now at the National Gallery of Australia.

Warhol’s openness about his work and success as a commercial artist, was however later to haunt him. The artist found that many undervalued his attempts to become an artist in his own right. The stigma of being a commercial artist worked against him.