A pop icon during his lifetime and a cultural legend today, Andy Warhol redefined art with works that have become instantly recognised by audiences all over the world. With his provocative paintings, drawing, films and photographs, the legendary artist boldly defied the traditional assumptions of what art should be, breaking down the barriers between ‘high art’ and ‘commercial art’. With the Montblanc Great Characters Andy Warhol Special Edition, Montblanc celebrates and honours the great artist’s imprint on contemporary art and culture with a design that reflects some of his most famous works.
Warhol’s fame is inextricably bound with the creation of serial images drawn from popular culture, including his “Campbell’s Soup Cans series” from 1965. As a tribute to one of the masterpieces that propelled him to fame, the Andy Warhol Special Edition’s unusual cap design features four images of Tomato Soup Cans artfully worked into stainless steel, appearing in a 2 by 2 formation reminiscent of his serial approach. His masterful eye for colour informs the contrast created between the cobalt blue precious resin of the barrel and the narrow orange rings on the cone, evoking the bold colour variations of the Soup Can series. The cap and cone are subtly designed to echo the ordinary tin soup can lid that he transformed into extraordinary art.
Warhol’s personal vision of art gave rise to his unconventional approach as he sought to consciously eliminate any kind of artistic fingerprint, and start multiplying his images in a machine-like manner. In homage to Andy Warhol’s preferred technique of silkscreen printing, the clip of the writing instrument is shaped like the most important tool of this technique: the squeegee. Reflecting his commercial focus, the Montblanc Andy Warhol Special Edition celebrates the merger of art and commerce in the handcrafted rhodium-plated 585 gold nib, finely engraved with the dollar sign from his Dollar Sign series, underscoring popular culture’s preoccupation with money.
In homage to The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts established in 1987 to support the creation, presentation and documentation of contemporary visual arts, an engraving of ©/®/TM AWF appears alongside Warhol’s signature on the cap ring of the Special Edition available as fountain pen, rollerball and ballpoint pen. Symbolic of his revolutionary approach to art, one of Warhol’s famous quotes is engraved on the cap top: “Art is what you can get away with”.
The inspiration behind the design of the Limited Edition 1928, a limitation number that mirrors the year of Andy Warhol’s birth, comes from Warhol’s powerful work Flowers, 1964. Four flower motifs in characteristically vibrant colours are placed in the style of this work in a 2 by 2 formation on the cap. A reference to the on-going commentary on commercialism made by Warhol’s art, the cone is embellished with a symbol of this discourse: the barcode, while the dollar sign adorns the rhodium-plated 750 gold nib. The grey lacquer barrel and platinum-plated fittings create a silver statement as a tribute to The Silver Factory in New York City, Warhol’s legendary studio where the most influential figures from the art, music and fashion scenes would converge. Engraved on the cap, the artist’s words capture his philosophy on turning the mundane things of modern life into extraordinary pieces of art: “You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you”, while other excerpts of Warhol’s philosophy are featured in an abridged version of Warhol’s 1975 book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again) that accompanies the Limited Edition 1928.
Nearly 30 years after his death, Andy Warhol’s almighty influence still permeates both the art world and popular culture. Warhol showed the world a new way of looking and continues to be one of the art world’s leading figures. Through fine craftsmanship and elegant design, the Montblanc’s Great Characters Andy Warhol immortalizes the spirit, genius and pioneering spirit of the father of ‘pop art’.The Montblanc Great Characters Andy Warhol Special Edition is available from December 2015 in Montblanc boutiques worldwide. For more information, visit www.montblanc.com.