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Warhol - Early Drawings

8.1.2013 - 3.3.2013

Somewhat of a sensation! It is extremely rare for the discovery of an art treasure to point to new directions in an artist’s oeuvre. This is, nonetheless, exactly what has happened with the unusual unearthing of several hundred drawings from one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Andy Warhol.

Approximately 300 drawings by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) from his earliest years were found quite by chance. The drawings had been registered in Warhol’s posthumous estate and archived in 1990, but since then they had lain untouched. In 2011 the Germany gallery owner Daniel Blau happened to be granted access to the drawings and noted that this was an exceptional collection of fine works. Many of the drawings, which are from the 1950s,  are of a sketch-like character with subjects which the artist, with his acute eye, selected and traced from newspapers and magazines and transformed with his simple line into images.

It is obvious that Warhol drew inspiration from the world of which he was himself a part in his early youth, when he worked as a draughtsman and illustrator in the advertising and fashion industry and frequented various milieux in New York city. Films, photographs, fashion magazines and the pictorial universe of the newspapers were the models for the subjects he turned into images that even then were unmistakably Warholean in their expression and sowed the seeds of Pop Art in the next decade. 

This is the first time a selection of about 170 of these drawings will be shown at a museum. The exhibition is curated by Poul Erik Tøjner, Director of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition was realized with support from the C.L. David Foundation and Collection.
Featured works © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ 2013. 


Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was born in Pittsburgh and studied art at the Carnegie Institute in the 1940s before he moved to New York in 1949. At the time art education was influenced by teachers who came from Europe, and this is one of the reasons why many of Warhol’s early drawings were particularly reminiscent of the known works of German and Austrian artists such as Grosz, Dix, Schiele and Klimt. Even older sources of inspiration such as woodcuts from the 17th and 18th centuries also seem to have influenced his choice of subjects.

It is mainly the human figure, the type, that fascinates Warhol – innocent children in staged postures, gay men and macho men with an attitude, young girls with dreaming expressions, film divas and bourgeois ladies and men in spectacles with introspective gazes. Subjects that Warhol captures in a simple, sometimes almost minimalist style. These are drawings that reflect the sensibility and empathy of a young, talented artist long before fame took hold of him, and the Warhol myth was created and took over. 


The exhibition catalogue "Andy Warhol. 1950s Drawings - From Silverpoint to Silver Screen" is published in English and German


"Warhol" - David Bailey's 1973 documentary on the Pop Art icon Andy Warhol was shown as part of the exhibition.


Louisiana Channel invited the international recognized Danish fashion designer Peter Jensen to see the exhibition and reflect upon Warhol’s early drawings. In this video Peter Jensen tells about his view on art contra fashion and about discovering Warhol as a sensitive and often lonely spectator of the world.