[dropcap size=small]M[/dropcap]ost of us are familiar with Andy Warhol. His famous Campbell’s Soup Cans and Marilyn Monroe screen prints have become ubiquitous symbols of the American Pop Art movement, of which he is seen as a leader. For the next few months, however, Montrealers have the chance to access the long-hidden collection of art historian Paul Maréchal, which includes fifty posters and almost a thousand illustrations by the artist. Maréchal’s extensive collection of works reveals a whole other side of Warhol—his early graphic design and illustration works that exhibit his endeavour to succeed in the competitive New York magazine industry, which he certainly achieved.
This show is a must-see for everyone, and is right in the heart of the city at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. We don’t want you to miss the opportunity to see the foundational works of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century! Here’s a taste of what you can look forward to:
When we think of Warhol, we often associate him with an obsession with depicting pop culture icons and consumer goods. In 1950s New York, young artists like him found it hard to acquire support from art galleries. Andy turned to magazine and advertising companies to make a living, working for companies to promote the commodities, fashions and celebrities that he used as subjects in his later, legendary fine art pieces.
Warhol Mania paints a picture of his rise to success in the magazine industry, designing unique covers for prominent publications. One sees the entire development of his style, from his blotted-line illustration technique on his simplistic covers for Interiors magazine, to his work with Bazaar and Glamour, to his famous portrayal of Michael Jackson on the cover of Time. Glass cases scattered throughout the main room display his exhaustive fashion illustration commissions. It is incredible to see in the flesh the hard work of this aspiring artist as he came to be a cultural icon himself.
Even more impressive are his advertising posters, which break familiar conventions and have an incredible visual impact. Warhol used his signature bright colours, colour blocking, and repetition to create abstract and intriguing ads for companies like Levi’s, Halston, Absolut Vodka and Perrier. Massive promotional posters for Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross exemplify his artistic development, resembling his works featuring iconic figures such as Jackie Kennedy and Mao Zedong. It is hard to believe these were widely distributed as mass media—they look like genius works of art created for a gallery setting. Also on display are his collaborations with the likes of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yoko Ono, and Roy Lichtenstein, more artistic powerhouses in the modernist movement.
To discover what else Maréchal’s collection has to offer, head to the Museum of Fine Arts before March 15. A ticket will also get you into Van Gogh to Kandinsky, on until January 25. Catch our overview of that here.
Let us know your favourite work in the show by tweeting @TheMain!
Featured image: Perrier, 1983, Offset lithograph 40 × 60 cm. For the promotion of the product in French cafés and bistros
All images credited to: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) Publisher: La Source Perrier, Vergèze, France. Printer: S.A. Lalande, Courbet, France Collection Paul Maréchal © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / SODRAC (2014) Photo GHP Media