12 Rare Magazine Illustrations By Andy Warhol

Before he was King of Pop art, Warhol was a prolific, in-demand magazine illustrator. Here, a selection of rare work from 1948 to 1987.


Even before his screenprints of Campbell’s soup cans and Marilyn Monroe made him an international art star in the early 1960s, Andy Warhol was a successful, highly paid commercial illustrator in New York. From the beginning of his career in 1948–when he was a struggling freelancer at Harper’s Bazaar, nicknamed “Raggedy Andy”–until his untimely death in 1987, Warhol published illustrations in more than 400 magazine issues.


Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Magazine Work, a hardcover tome from Prestel, makes the entirety of this whimsical oeuvre accessible to the public for the first time. Warhol is best known as the king of Pop art, and a few of his most iconic works tend to dominate his legacy (they’ve even been reduced to pictograms). But the lesser-known work here reminds us of Warhol’s stylistic range as a prolific illustrator, photographer, and designer. There’s his striking magazine cover art, which included photographs of Bella Abzug for Rolling Stone, Alfred Hitchcock for Vanity Fair, and Nico for Film Culture. His fashion illustration was as colorful and idiosyncratic as his famous silkscreens: a pink unicorn dominates an ad for Schiaparelli gloves. And his warped, pixelated illustrations for Amiga World in 1986 foreshadowed the Glitch art trend to come decades later.

The chronological collection offers insight into how Warhol evolved from Raggedy Andy to a white-wigged international man of mystery with a whole Factory of acolytes. Working for the likes of Glamour, Mademoiselle, McCall’s, Seventeen, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Life, and Esquire put him in contact with legendary art directors–like Alexander Liberman and Alexey Brodovitch of Harper’s Bazaar–and these relationships ultimately furthered his fine-art career. And the Hollywood celebrity worship that characterized much of these magazines’ content would later influence his choice of portrait subjects, whether it was Michael Jackson or Jackie O.

Film Culture
no. 45 (Summer 1967) cover, pp. 1–11© 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Many of the images featured here have not been reproduced since their first publication in magazines, and very few of the original drawings survive: More than 90% of Warhol’s magazine illustrations were never returned the the artist, having been destroyed by the magazines’ art departments, as was the standard practice at the time. Author Paul Marechal combed magazine archives to compile this collection, which offers endless inspiration for designers and illustrators working today.

Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Magazine Work, by Paul Marechal, is available from Prestel here for $100.

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.