Why Did Andy Warhol Do Personalised Pop Art Canvas Prints of Marilyn Monroe?

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Most of us have seen the personalised pop art canvas paintings of Andy Warhol featuring Marilyn Monroe. In fact these series of pieces are probably the most iconic canvas prints till this day. But why did this legend pick her anyway?

Well the answer lies in the type of personality Andy Warhol was. After graduating as a pictorial design major at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Andy began his career as a commercial graphic artist. However during the 1960’s Andy encountered many failures while trying to exhibit his work. He managed to pick himself up each time and continued to persevere.

It was probably during this time that Andy became interested in the subject of “fame”. He came up with the phrase “fifteen minutes of fame”, where a celebrity who makes intensive efforts to come into the media limelight is easily forgotten when the next celebrity does the same or commits a boo boo. Think of our modern day celebrities like Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton, sadly enough after a while the world forgets.

Though Andy seemed to bear fairly neutral feelings towards celebrities in general, he admired Marilyn Monroe more so than any others in particular because of her beauty mingled with the aura of mystery. She was known to be associated with high profile men of power and till today conspiracy theories abound on how she actually died. He thought of her as a role model not because she was a brilliant actress but also because she was a woman with a vibrant personality, who was not afraid to speak her mind.

Andy did not really do personalised pop art initially. However  monroe roofers he started painting his series of Marilyn Monroe pop art canvas portraits after the starlet committed suicide in 1962. He used an original photo of Marilyn taken by Gene Korman from a promotional shoot for the 1953 movie Niagara, in which she played the part of Rose Loomis. Andy mass produced his prints using a method called silk screen printing which he perfected to the latter. Andy Warhol finally completed his series of Marilyn Monroe personalized pop art canvas portraits in 1967.

Though the “Pope of Pop”, as Andy Warhol came to be known, painted many other celebrities and incorporated many everyday objects as subjects in his paintings, his Marilyn Monroe depictions are still probably his most remembered and revered masterpieces. These have inspired countless modern artists all over the world. Many of whom use the Warhol pop art style in creating personalised pop art effects on photographs and paintings.

Andy Warhol’s works can be seen at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Not only will you find his paintings here but also his canvas prints, sketches, drawings, photographs, films and other miscellaneous pieces of work. The museum has become a shrine of sorts to fans of pop art, who make a trip there in droves every year even till this day.


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