Campbell’s Soup Cans II: Chicken ‘N Dumplings 58 by Andy Warhol is a print included in the artist’s Campbell’s Soup Cans II series from 1969. These prints debuted shortly after his first soup can series from 1968, and seven years after his original Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings from 1962. Warhol’s signature Pop Art soup cans shocked the art world. The work exhibits his signature design techniques and philosophies concerning consumerism, advertising, and mechanical production. The Campbell’s Soup Cans I and II portfolios are some of Andy Warhol’s most valuable print series of all time.
This new collection of prints showcased the same traditional Campbell’s Soup design, but with the addition of new graphics. Although the series still contains the same bold red and white artwork, Campbell’s Soup Cans II showcases ten additional Campbell’s flavors, highlighting the less common soups the brand created. The added illustrations make this series the most developed form of Warhol’s soup can concept.
Instead of the traditional Campbell’s golden seal, each can shows unique labels. The Campbell’s Soup Cans II: Chicken ‘N Dumplings 58 shows a banner which reads “Stout Hearted Soup” held up by two Queen’s Guard soldiers. This new design fits into the greater series of soup cans by adding a small flare, while staying true to the repetitive appearance that Warhol wanted to achieve.
At first, Warhol hand painted the cans for his 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans piece in 1962. But the adoption of the silkscreen technique revolutionized his work, which he loved for its precise and reliable results; he could now mass produce detailed images in a more convenient way. By using this new technique, Warhol could fulfill his dream of “becoming a machine.”
Works like Campbell’s Soup Cans II: Chicken ‘N Dumplings comprise some of the most iconic pop art images of the century, serving as symbols of the entire genre. In the series, Warhol employs the Pop Art technique by alienating mundane objects from their original context, and transforming them into works of fine art. These Campbell’s Soup Cans challenged what could be deemed socially and artistically acceptable by suggesting an alternative source of artistic value: simple commodities. Not only did consumer products fascinate Andy, he also expressed his personal connection to the company: “I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess. The same thing over and over again.”
Warhol’s love for mass production, advertisement and Campbell’s soup all combined to create works like Chicken ‘N Dumplings. Although the Campbell’s soup cans are some of his most notable prints, showcasing the original 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans was a risky move. Due to the overwhelmingly familiar commercial subject, many people questioned the merit of his soup cans. Decades later, however, they are among some of the most important works of modern art, and remain the subject of academic and artistic discourse.
Campbell’s Soup Cans II: Chicken ‘N Dumplings 58 has become an iconic piece of the Pop Art genre, and the history of modern art as a whole. With his Campbell’s soup cans, Warhol’s succeeded in breaking the mold of fine art, introducing a truly unique and original concept to the art world.