Campbell’s Soup II: Vegetarian Vegetable 56 is a screen print by Andy Warhol from the artist’s Campbell’ Soup II portfolio from 1969. This series consisted of ten prints, each with different flavors and names. This collection was a continuation of his first Campbell’s Soup Can portfolio from 1968, with ten additional prints featuring the more uncommon flavors. Warhol’s signature pop-art style soup cans took the art world by storm, with his revolutionary design techniques and commercial style. These bold soup cans initially shocked the art world when first exhibited in 1962. They have since become some of the most famous pieces of modern art history. Notably, the Campbell’s Soup II portfolio ranks amongst Warhol’s top 10 most valuable portfolios of all time.
Although Warhol’s 1969 portfolio still contains the same familiar red and white design, Campbell’s Soup II showcases ten of the more interesting flavors. This new collection of prints has the same trademark design, but with the addition of Warhol’s new graphics.
In place of the traditional Campbell’s golden seal, the front of each can shows a unique design. On this particular print, the label reads “The Alphabet Soup” inside a speech bubble floating above the soup’s name. This fun and unique design fits well into Warhol’s already existing portfolios, while staying true to the repetitive appearance he admired.
Andy Warhol originally hand painted the cans for his 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans series in 1962. This all changed after the development of the silkscreen printing technique, which Warhol utilized for its reliable and precise results. This new creative development allowed Warhol to mass produce detailed images in a more accessible way. It quickly became his preferred method of artistic creation, and stands as the heartbeat of his catalogue.
The Campbell’s Soup Can is one of the most iconic pop art images of the century, serving as a symbol of consumer culture and advertising. Warhol often appropriated well known objects and images of consumer culture, transforming them into fine art. Significantly, the Campbell’s soup cans challenged what could be deemed socially and artistically acceptable. His decision to paint the soups, effectively breaking the mold of modern art, is owed to various curiosities. Not only did Andy have a clear fascination with consumer culture, he also expressed his personal connection to the company. “I used to drink it [Campbell’s Soup]. 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 everyday commodities all morphed together to create these portfolios. Although the Campbell’s soup cans are arguably some of his most notable works, the artist received some backlash after showcasing his original Campbell’s series. Due to the commercial subject matter of Warhol’s Soup Cans, many critics questioned the significance of his work. Fifty-nine years after their debut, people still may debate the value of Warhol’s soup cans. Nonetheless, they have since become treasured pieces of modern art history.
Despite the initial criticism Warhol received for his soup cans, the design ultimately launched his career. Andy Warhol’s soup cans soon became quintessential items of pop-art culture, and were instrumental in the new genre’s emergence. Still to this day, Warhol’s soup cans rule the pop-art world, with their bold design and breakthrough subject matter. Campbell’s Soup II: Vegetarian Vegetable 56 is a powerful piece of Warhol’s legacy, and a cherished artifact of modern art history.