Christenson, Bonnie. 2011. FABULOUS! A PORTRAIT OF ANDY WARHOL. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805087536 [Suggested Grade Levels 3–6]
Coca cola bottles, Campbell’s soup cans, and Marilyn Monroe are just a few of our cultural icons that have been immortalized in the art work of Warhol. Christenson takes this enigma of an artist and brings to life the complex childhood and events of Warhol’s life that created the artist he became. As a child, he was the youngest of a poor immigrant family in the Czech ghetto, bullied by his peers, sickly, and called a sissy. Yet throughout, Warhol drew. Images of life around him filled his notebooks. He took free art classes at the Carnegie Museum and became an art student in college. Eventually he left Pittsburgh and traveled to New York where within two weeks he had a job as an illustrator and entered the society of artists. Awards and recognition soon followed, yet Warhol never stopped observing life around him, continuing to fill notebooks with images of life.
Christenson has not only written a superb biography of Warhol’s early years, she has also held true to Warhol’s artistic visions with her superb illustrations that support the story. Her mastery of oil painting over photographic collages is enticing, creating a complete, inspirational biography for young, aspiring artists.
This is a fascinating biography that supports a comprehensive look at American icons in the art world, as well as the immigrants who helped to create our country’s history. It can be used for art experiences in the classroom and library using charcoal, pastels, and watercolors.
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