Long before the Campbell’s soup cans, the Elizabeths, the Marilyns, and the Maos, there were Andy Warhol’s beloved shoes. Warhol loved to draw high heels, pumps, or jeweled stilettos. Many of them were created when the artist was a commercial fashion illustrator in the 1950s. In 1980, Warhol returned to his roots as a commercial illustrator by creating his Shoes series. Warhol implemented his signature style of repetition, arranging the shoes in a seemingly haphazard, yet methodical manner. The composition provides a candid perspective of shoes, spilled out on the floor in no particular order, but also presents the various views of the classic high-heel, leaving no element of the shoe hidden. The conceptualization of these prints is a revival of the beginning of his artistic career in which his specialty was none other than women’s shoes. Shoes 253 features images of heels printed in orange and coral tones over a black background covered with star-like dots. The space-like background of the iconic image suggests an extraordinary quality about the shoes that extends beyond that of the immediate boundaries.
Shoes 253 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
During the early 1980s, Warhol was forming bonds with a number of younger artists in the New York art scene including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and David Salle. Warhol saw a re-emergence of critical and financial success during this period of his life. It was at this time that he was inspired to create a series which paid homage to his beginnings as a commercial illustrator. His Shoes series, which includes Shoes 253 was created alongside prints featuring identical images of shoes, but the second series is accented by multi-colors.