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82 Things You Didn’t Know About Andy Warhol

Eighty-two years ago today, Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While the pop-art icon passed away in 1987, his legacy is still going strong. We’re toasting to Warhol’s memory with highlights from The Andy Warhol Museum‘s official chronology, as well as Warhol’s own writings. As the artist himself once wrote in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, “Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.” We couldn’t agree more.

1. Andy Warhol’s father Andrei Warhola worked construction and labor jobs; Andrei’s wife Julia earned spare cash by cleaning houses and selling handmade crafts while raising their three sons: Paul, John, and Andrew.

2. Warhol contracted Sydenham’s chorea as a young boy, and was confined to his home for more than two months. The illness is characterized by rapid, uncontrollable movements brought on by rheumatic fever, and is sometimes referred to as “St. Vitus’s dance.”

3. Warhol’s mother encouraged her nine-year-old to explore his interest in art and popular culture while he was sick, so Warhol began to collect photos of movie stars.

4. He’d also take his own pictures and develop them in his parents’ basement, which he used as a darkroom.

5. In elementary school, Warhol attended free Saturday art classes at the Carnegie Institute.


Unknown photographer, Andy Warhol, c. 1950s, black and white photograph, from the collection of The Andy Warhol Museum, © AWF

6. Before his death in 1942, Andrei Warhola specified that his son should use Andrei’s life savings in postal bonds for Andy’s college education.

7. As a teenager, Warhol worked a summer job in the display department at the Joseph Horne department store in downtown Pittsburgh.

8. Warhol was art editor of his college’s student magazine Cano.

9. Andy Warhol’s first assignment was for Glamour magazine: an article called “Success is a Job in New York.”

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