For Warhol, a commercial illustrator who became a successful author, painter, and film director, the work was his first one-man gallery exhibition as a fine artist. First exhibited in the Ferus Gallery of Los Angeles, it marked the West Coast debut of pop art. The combination of the semi-mechanized process, the non-painterly style, and the commercial subject initially caused offense, as the work's blatantly mundane commercialism represented a direct affront to the technique and philosophy of abstract expressionism. The abstract expressionism art movement was dominant during the post-war period, and it held not only to "fine art" values and aesthetics but also to a mystical inclination. This controversy led to a great deal of debate about the merits and ethics of such work. Warhol's motives as an artist were questioned, and they continue to be topical to this day. The public commotion helped transform Warhol from being an accomplished 1950s commercial illustrator to a notable fine artist, and it helped distinguish him from other rising pop artists. Although commercial demand for his paintings was not immediate, Warhol's association with the subject led to his name becoming synonymous with the Campbell's Soup can paintings.
Warhol subsequently produced a wide variety of art works depicting Campbell's Soup cans during three distinct phases of his career, and he produced other... [continues]
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