The Critical Response to Andy Warhol

By Alan R. Pratt | Go to book overview

diagram reducing Cézanne's Still Life with Apple3 to an arrangement of dynamic plane's, remembering that Lichtenstein actually made a painting our of Loran's diagram of the Portrait of Madame Cézanne4 -- called, of course, Portrait of Madame Cézanne. But whether or not the cake tins relate through Loran to Cézanne, the way they sift down like leaves in the air does look forward to Warhol's aluminum floating pillow-balloons of 1966, Clouds. And the still life of Cheese on Board, which occurs as headpiece and tailpiece to the chapter on cheese (187, 196) supplies another case of chunky, wretched, Cézanne-suggestive forms in space.

The Cubist/Egyptian layout of repeated forms, some in absolute elevation, others in plan, with repetitive diagonals, in the illustrations of Tea for a Large Crowd (50) and the various model place settings, would also reward investigation. So would Buffet Parties (692-93), the F-111 of the AVCC, which is also in the tradition of artists' table settings ( Manet, Bonnard, etc.). Warhol is perfectly right, in a way, when he says that his art doesn't have any deep meanings. It is superficial and it is about superficiality. But, as his modest drawings for Amy Vanderbilt show, he gets a lot into his thin varnish of illusion.


NOTES
1.
For example, Conrad Arnsberg, The Irish Countryman ( Macmillan, 1937; New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1968), p. 61: "They heap ridicule upon the thought of a man's interesting himself in the feminine sphere, in poultry . . . ."
2.
An indication of the incredible degree to which Andy had his finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist is that meat cuts illustrated by the combination of carcass maps and threedimensional (photographic) illustrations were not institutionally standardized in the United States until December in the year the Cookbook appeared. See National Association of Hotel and Restaurant Meat Purveyors, Meat Buyer's Guide to Standardized Meat Cuts ( Chicago, 1961).
3.
Erie Loran, Cézanne's Composition: Analysis of his Form with Diagrams and Photographs of His Motifs ( 1943); 3rd rev. ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963), diagram ii on p. 41.

POSTSCRIPT ( 1994): While acknowledging this as "the first consideration by an art historian of Warhol's work of this pre-Pop Art period," Patrick S. Smith, Andy Warhol's Art and Films ( Ann Arbor: U.M.I. Research Press, 1986), 35-36, blames me for not

-73-

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