Andy Warhol never learned to drive, but that didn’t stop him from having a lifelong fascination with cars. The “Pope of Pop” drew his first automotive vehicle — his brother’s produce delivery truck surrounded vivacious gals — when he was just 18 years old. His next attraction to automobiles came in the 1950s, while he was making his living as a high-rolling advertisement and editorial illustrator. Turning his commercial success into an artistic career, Warhol went on to incorporate such celebrities and public figures as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, and Jacqueline Kennedy in his paintings and prints; but he never lost his interest in cars — making giant canvases of cars crashes in the ’60s, prints of Volkswagens and trucks in the ’80s, and even hand-painting an actual BMW race car in 1979 for the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The traveling show Warhol and Cars: American Icons is currently on view at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Click through a selection of our favorite images that document the famed artist’s strange obsession.
Andy Warhol (1928-87), Twelve Cadillacs, 1962, Silkscreen ink on canvas, 46 x 42 in. (116.8 x 106.7 cm), Montclair Art Museum purchase; prior bequest of James Turner and Acquisition Fund 1998.9, © 2011 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York