Andy Warhol - Shoe

Shoes were a mainstay throughout Warhol’s art career. Certainly, more than anything in the 50s, Warhol was best known for his depictions of shoes.

In 1949, on his second day introducing himself to publishers in New York, Warhol received his first assignment as a commercial illustrator- to illustrate shoes for New York’s Glamour Magazine. His portfolio caught the eye of then-Art Director Tina Fredericks, who commissioned him on the spot to do work for the magazine. It was apparently at this job [after showing up for work with drawings of shoes that had been worn and looked a bit worn-out] that he learned a very important lesson: that shoes are the object of desire for every woman, and must therefore be presented in a favorable light. The job led to other tasks for Warhol, including a request to illustrate women’s shoes arranged on a ladder; colleagues recall Warhol staying up all night working on the project.

In the 1950s, Warhol was also responsible for revamping I. Miller’s advertising campaign, specifically through his blotted line drawings of shoes; he went on to produce more than 300 illustrations for I. Miller shoes, whose ads appeared in The New York Times almost every Sunday. He was so successful in this area that he eventually became known in the industry as “the shoe person.”

Warhol’s shoe illustrations play into some of the overarching themes of his work: industry, capitalism, and (perhaps above all) fashion. And, as Warhol said, “You can never have enough shoes.”