Andy Warhol had been eating Campbells Tomato Soup for 20 years when he immortalised the soup can design in pop art in 1962. Now Campbells is releasing limited edition Warhol-inspired soup cans on the work’s 50th anniversary (and providing its ailing sales with some much needed brand buzz).
Warhol had a deprived child’s lifelong preoccupation with food – and guilt about leftovers – having grown up as the son of struggling immigrants in a Depression-era USA. An article from Lucky Peach (partially reproduced here in Slate) says Warhol “understood the democracy of mass production” enjoying the idea that rich and poor (he’d been both) consumed the same industrialised products.
Warhol could have anything he wanted to eat, but what he really craved was sugar. He said in his memoirs:
“Food is my greatest extravagance…. I’ll buy a huge piece of meat, cook it up for dinner, and then right before it’s done I’ll break down and have what I wanted for dinner in the first place – bread and jam.”