Born on August 6, 1928, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol was a successful magazine and ad illustrator who became a leading artist of the 1960s Pop art movement. He ventured into a wide variety of art forms, including performance art, filmmaking, video installations and writing, and controversially blurred the lines between fine art and mainstream aesthetics.
In the late 1950s, Warhol began devoting more attention to painting, and in 1961, he debuted the concept of "pop art" — paintings that focused on mass-produced commercial goods. In 1962, he exhibited the now-iconic paintings of Campbell's soup cans. These small canvas works of everyday consumer products created a major stir in the art world, bringing both Warhol and pop art into the national spotlight for the first time.
He also painted celebrity portraits in vivid and garish colors; his most famous subjects include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. As these portraits gained fame and notoriety, Warhol began to receive hundreds of commissions for portraits from socialites and celebrities.
Andy Warhol died on February 2, 1987. In 1989, the Museum of Modern Art in New York had a major retrospective of his works. In 2001 Heiner Bastian curated a Warhol retrospective that began in Berlin and traveled to the Tate in London and finally to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Warhol’s Rebel without a Cause (James Dean) draws its inspiration from a Japanese poster of the 1955’s homonymous film. Although featuring a brighter crimson palette, the background maintains details from the photographic source such as the brick wall. To the left of the composition, the title is printed in bold Japanese characters, colored in shades of dark and light greenish-blue. Simplified into sharp, contrasting outlines, the bold and iconized image of Dean is immortalized by Warhol.
Created in 1985, this color screenprint is hand signed by the artist in pencil in the lower right.