Why Campbell Soup hated, then embraced, Andy Warhol’s soup can paintings

Why Campbell Soup hated, then embraced, Andy Warhol’s soup can paintings

Shortly thereafter, the company dispatched a lawyer.

In this way, decades of hatred and love began between the artist and the company. It started with a very skeptical view, but Campbell eventually began to embrace the artwork and sponsored the Warhol exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The final partnership between Campbell and Warhol Estate foreshadowed the fusion of high art, advertising, branding and fashion that is now commonplace.

When the Campbell brand appeared in Warhol’s artwork in 1962, then president and CEO William Beverly Murphy “showed that he had the first concern” about the use of the company’s trademark, lawyer. Invited me to visit the Fels Gallery. ..

A cease and desist order was considered. However, in July 1962, John T. Drance Jr., the son of the inventor of condensed soup, had just taken office as chairman. He is a passionate art collector and has a reputation in the art world. As criticism of the show increased-“Is this art?”-So did the promotion. For some reason, the company filed a proceeding.

Also, the gallery show wasn’t working. One went to Hollywood star Dennis Hopper, but only five of them sold for about $ 100 each.

Born in Pittsburgh, the son of Slovak immigrants in 1928, Warhol was still better known as a shoe brand and commercial illustrator in department stores than as a great artist. Gallery dealer Irving Bloom decided that one day the value of the painting could increase as a group and bought back everything. It will prove to be foresighted.

Meanwhile, Warhol’s next series was celebrity, with Elvis and Marilyn replacing onions and tomatoes, and the show sold out.

Consumers send Warhol label

By 1964, it was Campbell who reached out to the artist.

According to the archive letter, the product marketing manager wrote to Warhol: “Your work has aroused great interest here at Campbell’s Soup Company.” A few examples of tomato soup, probably The artist’s favorites were sent to his home in New York City with gratitude.

The manager even hinted at trade diagonally. “I was hoping to get a label for the Campbell’s Soup Can painting, but I’m worried that you might be too expensive for me,” he writes. As a result, there is no document about his getting free soup can art. However, Beth Jolly, vice president of food and beverage communications at Campbell, said: The company said it would outsource one to a board member who retired in the same year.

By 1966, the partnership was official. Campbell invited consumers to send two can labels and $ 1 in exchange for a paper dress designed by Warhol. The promotion was a hit. This dress is currently sold in the art gallery and online for about $ 20,000 and is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute collection.

No sales

However, Campbell had not yet fully purchased that the painting of the can was an art.

In 1970, when Sotheby’s auction house first sold contemporary art, Warhol’s “Can with Peeling Label” offered to start bidding for $ 20,000.

The auction house asked the Campbell and Dorans families if they were interested in buying, but “they were told they weren’t interested,” he worked on their early sales and eventually Impressionists and contemporary art. Says David Nash, who became responsible for. Auctioneer.

(Ironically, Nash continued to do a lot of business with his family: in 1989, he oversaw John T. Drance Jr.’s art and furniture real estate sales for $ 124 million. Raised and broke the record at the time of the collection.)

Warhol, on the other hand, proved to be very brand loyal-he did some Coca-Cola bottle art, but didn’t get lost in Lipton-Campbell’s Soup Cans and Boxes for him. It regularly appeared in works, 1980s interviews and MTV shows.

Warhol died suddenly in 1987 at the age of 58. His fame has grown.

It helped the value of the soup artwork that it became a very popular printing series and had two conflicting interpretations by critics.

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Some argued that the work was mass-produced, and even an exciting but intellectual criticism of capitalism, while others saw a more pleasing soup wall about America and post-war options and prosperity.

In 1996, Blum sold the original set of 32 tins to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for a partial sale / gift worth $ 15 million. (Warhol’s auction record was $ 195 million and was set to “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” earlier this year.)

In 2012, the soup company published a promotional “Limited Edition” series of soup cans, with Warhol interpreting the company’s labels in different colors. He also sponsored the education and events of the “About Warhol: 60 Artists, 50 Years” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The company is currently decorating its headquarters in Camden, NJ with a picture of a soup can. According to Jolly, he continues to work with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts in charity and more recently licensed hoodies and other apparel.

However, Warhol’s real estate has not escaped the battle of all trademarks.

The Supreme Court in May said it would take up a lawsuit over whether the late painter infringed the photographer’s copyright when he created a series of silkscreens for the musician Prince. They used images by photographer Lynn Goldsmith as source material.

The Warhol Foundation claims to be successful in lower courts in most cases, but claims that the use of Warhol’s work is “transformative,” but the case is inspired by existing images. It makes a lot of sense for artists who want to bring out or make it appropriate.



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