Were Warhol’s Eggs The Inspiration Behind Damien Hirst’s Spots?
Andy Warhol’s pioneering Pop Art defined a generation and a culture, distinguishing him as one of the most influential, creative and prolific artists of the 20th century. Hirst on the other hand assimilated this knowledge and was driven to follow in an almost parallel career. Like Warhol, Hirst has always been fascinated by wealth, consumerism and mass marketing.
The Tate in St. Ives are now about to display a later work by Warhol which may be unfamiliar to many. The ‘Egg’ paintings are a series historians have previously ignored. In his final years, Warhol encouraged by younger painters like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring had begun to evolve. His work was taking on a far more abstract sensibility. This shift was clear in his Copper ‘Piss’ paintings an exercise where canvases were coated in copper oxide. Warhol encouraged his guests to urinate on them creating a green oxidation on the surface. The finished painting resulted in the appearance of abstract expressionism. Warhol’s rarely seen abstract painting ‘Eggs, 1982’ is clearly an influential work. Artist, Damien Hirst could very well have based his ‘Spot’ paintings on these earlier experiments.
Originally the most sought-after commercial artist in New York, Warhol (1923 – 1987) is most known for his multiple images of Campbell’s Soup cans, Coke bottles, dollar bills and celebrities, which exalted the beauty within ordinary objects and familiar images. Working out of a studio called The Factory, he invented the silkscreening process which enabled him to mass produce a single image in his signature style. Warhol was also a talented filmmaker, music producer, commercial illustrator, author and magazine publisher. The art critic Brian Sewell said: “My impression is that Warhol is out there in some kind of ether, floating about with Rembrandt and Michelangelo rather than having any immediate influence”. Tate artistic director,Martin Clark, said: “It’s the first time it has been shown in the UK and it’s rarely been seen elsewhere. The Warhol Foundation is aware of 25 egg paintings, but so little is known.” The exhibition which includes work by Gerhard Richter, Bernard Frize and Bridget Riley opens in October.