Thursday, May 29, 2014


Andy Warhol was an American artist who was born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  His parents had come to America from Slovakia, which is why they had the foreign-sounding (to us) last name Varhola.  Over time, this name got Americanized to Warhol.  Andy's father worked in a coal mine.  He died in an accident when Andy was 13.

As a boy, Andy was sick a lot, and while he was stuck in bed, he spent time drawing and listening to the radio.  He also bonded very closely with his mother.  After high school, Andy attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he studied commercial art.  He moved to New York City in 1949 and started working in the field of magazine illustration and advertising.

From 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy

Andy Warhol started using the silkscreen printing process to make artwork from drawings or photos.
For subject matter, he chose objects such as soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and mushroom clouds.  He also produced paintings of famous people like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor.  A lot of people thought these were strange things to make pictures of, but Andy Warhol became a leading  figure in the new Pop Art movement.  Now there is a museum in Pittsburgh dedicated to his work, and it's called The Andy Warhol Museum.  This museum has the largest permanent collection in the U.S. of works by a single artist.

Photo by Andy Warhol

Artwork by Andy Warhol

Mr. Warhol's mother loved cats, and she passed this love on to her son.  The two of them lived in a townhouse during the 1950s and 1960s, and they had about 25 cats there.  All the cats were named Sam except for one who was called Hester.  Friends remember that the Warhols were always giving away kittens.  Andy self-published a book called 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy in 1954.  His mother lettered the cover wrong and put "Name" instead of "Named," but Andy didn't mind it that way, so he left it.

From 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy

From 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy

In 1973 Andy's partner, Jed Johnson, talked him into getting a dog.  The dog they got was a dachshund puppy called Archie.  Right away, Warhol fell in love with Archie.  He took the dog everywhere, even to restaurants, where Archie stayed hidden under the napkin in Andy's lap.  Archie also got to go to the studio, to art openings, to photo shoots, and to press conferences.  If Andy got asked questions that he did not want to answer, he referred those questions to Archie.

Archie, 1976 ©Andy Warhol

Amos, 1976 ©Andy Warhol

When Archie was 3, Andy got another dachshund named Amos.  The two dogs played together a lot, and Archie didn't want to go out with Andy anymore.  Instead, he wanted to stay home and play with Amos.

In his later years, Mr. Warhol lived alone in a five-story building.  He was surrounded by antiques, art, boxes of wigs, lots of cookie jars, and his two beloved dogs.  Andy died in a hospital due to heart failure after routine gall bladder surgery.  He was buried in Pittsburgh, PA.  Some of his paintings are among the most expensive ever sold.

Cat, 1976 ©Andy Warhol


  1. El peculiar estilo de Andy es inconfundible y ha hecho historia.

    1. Sí, estoy completamente de acuerdo.

  2. Wahol was mentioned this morning on NPR.

    yes, we listen to NPR in the mornings when mom leaves. We're educated like that.

    --Zest! superfan of NPR

    1. We heard that, too! I can't believe they didn't mention my blog entry during the NPR story!