American painter, draughtsman, graphic artist and film producer Andy Warhol was born in Pennsylvania, the son of Czechoslovakian immigrant parents. He studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, taking a degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Pictorial Design and subsequently he worked as an advertising draughtsman in New York. He had his first one-man exhibition in 1952. By the early 1960's his name was the most widely known in and outside America, and the most controversial of all the American Pop artists.
The Pop Art movement began as a reaction against the seriousness of Abstract Expressionism. "We wanted to paint pictures so outrageous and ugly that no one would want to buy them" (Lichtenstein). Warhol, along with other artists of the movement, turned away from the emphasis on emotion in favor of a hard-line realism using many common images associated with popular media. He took his subject matter from commercial "art" - magazine photographs of famous film stars, horror comics, advertisement illustration of mass-produced consumer goods, and so on - and he turned this material into fine art without destroying its character as kitsch.
At a time when enigma is one of the most sought after of aesthetic virtues, Andy Warhol has achieved the difficult feat of remaining the most enigmatic artist of all. Since he became known for his Campbell's Soup Cans and Brillo Box sculptures at the beginning of the Pop Art movement in the early sixties, critics and the public have argued about him and the success of his art. Yet of all the post-war artists, Warhol has made the most obvious breaks with tradition and has shown the most single-minded consistency.