How About A Coke? Warhol Painting Up For Grabs | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

How About A Coke? Warhol Painting Up For Grabs

On Tuesday, artist Andy Warhol's oversized and iconic Coca-Cola (3) will hit the auction block at Christie's, and to borrow an old slogan from the company, It's The Real Thing.

Warhol painted the 6-foot-tall black-and-white canvas in 1962 as part of a series of four Coke bottle paintings. According to Ted Ryan, archivist and historian at the Coca-Cola Co., Warhol had the paintings in his studio and invited his friend, Emile de Antonio, to come by and give him feedback.

"I think he was told No. 3 is it — just throw away No. 1," says Ryan, who added that Warhol had been struggling with different art styles at the time. "It wasn't until he did the series of Coke bottles and got the feedback ... that he found his genre."

Ryan says the artist chose the Coke bottle because of its ubiquity, pointing to a quote from Warhol himself:

"What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke ... All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it ... and you know it."

The artist later went on to depict other American brands, including Brillo, Campbell's Soup, General Electric, Heinz and Kellogg.

The Coke painting, which has been part of a private collection since 1995, could sell for more than $40 million — another Warhol piece, Coke Bottle (4), sold for $35.4 million a couple of years ago.

Coca-Cola itself holds more than 20 pieces of Warhol art. Ryan says the company never sent a cease-and-desist order to the artist asking him to stop using the company's logo and other trademarks, but rather they "acknowledged each other from afar."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Dec. 25

Merry Christmas from Art Beat! Two shows keep the holiday festivities going through the weekend.

NPR

Inside The Indiana Megadairy Making Coca-Cola's New Milk

Coca-Cola got a lot of attention in November when it announced it was going into the milk business. In fact, its extra-nutritious milk product was invented by some dairy farmers in Indiana.
NPR

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.
NPR

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.