Born in Pittsburgh to Slovakian emigrants Andrej and Júlia Varhola, artist Andy Warhol was a leading force in the pop art movement.
Warhol was the youngest of four children. In third grade he was diagnosed with Sydenham's chorea, a nervous system disease which causes involuntary movements of the extremities, and so he was often bedridden and became a hypochondriac. He was an outcast at school and his father passed when he was 13, so Warhol bonded with his mother and spent his time drawing, listening to the radio and collecting photos of movie stars like Shirley Temple. After high school, he enrolled in the Carnegie Institute of Technology to study commercial art before moving to New York.
Warhol created many form of art, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He is best known for his renditions of iconic images and personalities, like paintings of Campbell's Soup Cans, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. His ink drawings gained popularity in the 1950's and he attracted more attention when he began holding art exhibitions. In the 1960's Warhol took up filmmaking at his studio, “The Factory” and later got into a dispute with one of his cast members and radical feminist, Valerie Solanas, over her lost script. On June 3, 1968, Solanas shot Warhol and seriously wounded him, causing him to wear a surgical corset for the rest of his life. In the 1970's he co-founded Interview Magazine and returned to commercial art in the 80's.
Warhol passed on February 22, 1987 due to sudden post-operative cardiac arrhythmia after gallbladder surgery. He was buried next to his parents in St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery. Warhol left the majority of his estate to the creation of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which is dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts. His belongings took Sotheby's nine days to auction after his death and grossed more than $20 million. In 1994, the majority of his artwork was moved into Pittsburgh's Warhol Museum, the largest museum dedicated to a single artist. The museum has recently been remodeled and has attracted nearly nine million worldwide visitors.
Read more about Andy in our blog post about the Warhol Museum's 20th anniversary.