Boy with Thumb in Mouth (1956)
About this artwork
Warhol’s voyeuristic interest in the male body can be seen throughout his oeuvre, from films such as ‘Sleep’ of 1963 through to his stitched photographs of 1986. This fascination is first evident in his early line drawings of young men from the mid to late 1950s, of which many were included in his ‘Drawings for a Boy Book’ exhibition at the Bodley Gallery, New York in 1956. In this drawing Warhol depicts a young man with his thumb in his mouth, simplified and with all unnecessary detail removed. The style of Warhol’s boy drawings such as ‘Boy with Thumb in Mouth’, show similarities to the work of Henri Matisse and Jean Cocteau, of whom both employed a reductive linear drawing technique and whose work Warhol admired.
- title: Boy with Thumb in Mouth
- accession number: AR00591
- artist: Andy WarholAmerican (1928 - 1987)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Work on paper
- date created: 1956
- measurements: 43.50 x 35.60 cm
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2016.
Andy Warhol was born 'Andrew Warhola' to Slovakian immigrant parents living in Pittsburgh in America. Warhol's subject matter was taken from popular culture, in the form of advertising, comics, magazines and packaging. He was able to produce his works quickly by transferring images onto canvas or paper through photography and screenprinting, sometimes with the help of assistants. Warhol stated that he wanted to make works that showed no trace of having been produced by hand. His interest in mass production reflected the fast-developing consumer culture he recognised in America. His New York studio, 'The Factory,' became a popular meeting place for artists, drop-outs, celebrities and bands.