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  • Andy Warhol, Prince of Pop
  • Written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
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  • Written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan
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Andy Warhol, Prince of Pop

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Written by Jan GreenbergAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jan Greenberg and Sandra JordanAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Sandra Jordan


List Price: $6.99


On Sale: March 25, 2009
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-0-307-51306-9
Published by : Laurel Leaf RH Childrens Books
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“IN THE FUTURE EVERYBODY will be world famous for 15 minutes.”

The Campbell’s Soup Cans. The Marilyns. The Electric Chairs. The Flowers. The work created by Andy Warhol elevated everyday images to art, ensuring Warhol a fame that has far outlasted the 15 minutes he predicted for everyone else. His very name is synonymous with the 1960s American art movement known as Pop.

But Warhol’s oeuvre was the sum of many parts. He not only produced iconic art that blended high and popular culture; he also made controversial films, starring his entourage of the beautiful and outrageous; he launched Interview, a slick magazine that continues to sell today; and he reveled in leading the vanguard of New York’s hipster lifestyle. The Factory, Warhol’s studio and den of social happenings, was the place to be.

Who would have predicted that this eccentric boy, the Pittsburgh-bred son of Eastern European immigrants, would catapult himself into media superstardom? Warhol’s rise, from poverty to wealth, from obscurity to status as a Pop icon, is an absorbing tale—one in which the American dream of fame and fortune is played out in all of its success and its excess. No artist of the late 20th century took the pulse of his time—and ours—better than Andy Warhol.

Praise for Vincent van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist:

“This outstanding, well-researched biography is fascinating reading.”—School Library Journal, Starred

“Readers will see not just the man but also the paintings anew.”—The Bulletin, Starred

“An exceptional biography that reveals the humanity behind the myth.”—Booklist, Starred

A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book

An ALA Notable Book

From the Hardcover edition.


Pittsburgh Days 1928-1940

I never wanted to be a painter. I wanted to be a tap dancer. --Andy Warhol

He loved her. Entranced, he sat in the darkened movie theater while child star Shirley Temple tap-danced her way into his heart. In Poor Little Rich Girl, the silver-screen charmer with the adorable dimples and fifty-six golden curls triumphed over adversity with a smile. In Andy's world, work was grueling, but Shirley made it look like fun. He stored away impressions of his idol to imitate later on. For now, Andy worshipped Shirley from afar, even sending off a dime to join her fan club. The photograph that came in the mail was signed "To Andrew Warhola, from Shirley Temple." Carefully placed in a scrapbook, it would remain one of Andy's treasured possessions. This marked the beginning of his lasting passion for celebrities, collecting their autographs and photos, creating a fantasy life that would determine his future.

Both were eight years old, born in 1928, but how different Shirley's life was from Andy's. He could dream about being a Hollywood star; life in Pittsburgh offered a grimmer picture. "Being born," Andy later said, "is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery."

Andy came into the world in the back bedroom of his family's tiny apartment at 73 Orr Street in Pittsburgh's grimy immigrant ghetto. Shortly after his birth, his father, Andrej Warhola, lost his construction job, and the family moved to an even more cramped two-room apartment. Andy shared a bed with his older brothers, Paul and John. The bathtub sat in the middle of the kitchen--convenient because with the apartment's primitive plumbing, anyone wanting hot water had to heat it on the stove. In the alley behind the building was a communal privy.

The precocious Andy walked and talked early, and it was clear to everyone that he was bright, if a bit of a handful. His blond, cherubic looks were a contrast to those of his more robust brothers, and his mother, Julia, deciding her youngest child's health was delicate, coddled him. Although they didn't own a radio (and commercial television didn't exist), they found ways to entertain themselves. When the boys' games grew too rambunctious for the family's close quarters, Julia brought them into the kitchen, gave them paper and crayons, and announced a contest for the best drawing. Julia was artistic, and all three Warhola boys inherited some of her gift, but Andy easily outstripped his brothers. He might have been the youngest, but he always won the giant Hershey bar Julia offered as a prize.

From the beginning, making art was what Andy liked to do best. His brother John remembered a neighborhood baseball game where Andy reluctantly took a position in the outfield. "Someone hit a baseball where Andy was supposed to be, and Andy wasn't there. I later found him sitting in front of the house drawing flowers. Andy never argued, he never swore, he didn't go in for rough stuff. I always thought he was going to be a priest."

Andy isn't known to have considered that possibility, but he dutifully attended church with Julia during the week as well as on Sunday. The Byzantine Catholic Church loomed large in the devout Warhola family. From their apartment they walked three miles down a winding road and across the railroad tracks to St. John Chrysostom. "Rain or shine, there were no excuses," John recalled. The priest sat all the boys--including Andy--in the first row, where they at least had to pretend to pay attention during the long service. At the altar stood a golden screen, closely hung with square upon square, row upon row of icons--sacred paintings of saints. These repetitive images would have a profound effect on Andy's art.

Their father insisted that Sunday be strictly observed, but John remembered it as a joyous time, mainly because of Julia's influence. "My mother . . . liked going to church better than material things. She never believed in being wealthy--she believed just being a real good person made you happy. We were taught never to hurt anybody, to believe you're just here for a short time and you're going to leave the material things behind."

There weren't many material things to leave. Andy's family originated in Carpatho-Ruthenia, a poor farming area of the Carpathian Mountains that was passed back and forth in the constant wars and border disputes among Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, and Hungary. Andrej and Julia Warhola--along with many members of both of their families--came to America seeking work and a better life.

The Pittsburgh where the Warholas settled was a far different town in the 1920s and 1930s than it is today. Located at the point where three rivers meet, it was the bustling steelmaking capital of America. Iron ore arrived from vast strip mines in northern Minnesota, coal from Pennsylvania. Even when unemployment was high during the Great Depression of the thirties, and labor protesters and private policemen fought in the streets of the city, the steel mills roared twenty-four hours a day, filling the daytime sky with so much smoke that drivers had to keep their headlights on. The word smog was invented to describe the sooty air that hung over Pittsburgh. At night the Bessemer converters in the steel mills lit up the sky like fireworks, and small trains left the mills and dumped the hot, glowing slag on the hillsides, where it cascaded down in burning rivulets.

Many other groups of Middle Europeans populated the neighborhood called Soho, where the Warhola family lived. They all had been lured there by the promise of America, the land of golden opportunity; instead they found backbreaking, often dangerous jobs that paid meager wages. The cheaply built housing that was all they could afford sometimes lacked even the basics of heat, hot water, and safe sanitation. Disease was a constant threat. Nobody seemed to care. The immigrants were treated as interlopers in their adopted country, despised for their imperfect English, their strange customs, and most of all for their poverty.

However, in several respects Andy was fortunate. His father managed to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads during the toughest years of the Depression. He labored six days a week, twelve hours a day, taking odd jobs when he was laid off from construction work. Sundays were spent in church. After the long service, the Warholas visited the various aunts, uncles, and cousins who also had moved to the Pittsburgh area. Unlike many of his fellows, Andrej saved his money and did not drink or gamble to relieve the stress of his unremitting drudgery. His critics, some of them within the family, went so far as to call him a tightfisted workaholic. Andy inherited both his father's capacity for hard work and his thrifty nature.

From the Hardcover edition.
Jan Greenberg

About Jan Greenberg

Jan Greenberg - Andy Warhol, Prince of Pop
“There is a feeling that comes over me when I’m writing well. It is the same feeling I get from seeing a great painting. All my senses are engaged. The imagination runs free. Ultimately, it’s an act of sharing.”—Jan Greenberg

Jan Greenberg’s books have been named an ALA Notable Book, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Editors’ Choice, an IRA Teachers’ Choice, and a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book.


Since childhood, Jan Greenberg’s life has been focused on art and writing, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that she combined these two interests, eventually writing two important books on art for young adult readers.

While other children were playing basketball or computing complex mathematical formulas, Greenberg was reading and writing poetry and stories. Her favorite book was A Little Princess (“I must have read it 30 times”).

Her interest in contemporary art was stimulated during her years at a private school in St. Louis, Missouri. The art educator from the local museum came each week to show films and slides of abstract expressionist artists such as Jackson Pollock.

After her marriage, Greenberg was surrounded by contemporary art. Her husband has a gallery, and at home their private collection was growing. Greenberg’s interest in writing about art grew out of her desire to make the subject comprehensible to children: “I noticed that young children were open to contemporary art, but by the time they reached their teens, many didn’t understand it. The Painter’s Eye came out of my desire to help young people develop a language of art.”

Together with a group of art educators, she developed a system of looking at art that could be used in the classroom. Out of this came both The Painter’s Eye and The Sculptor’s Eye, which Greenberg wrote with Sandra Jordan, a writer and photographer based in New York City. Each book includes interviews with the artists, full-color reproductions, and photos of the artists at work. Reference features include a glossary of art terms, list of museums, bibliography, and index in each volume.

Greenberg is the author of several novels. She teaches writing at Webster University in St. Louis, and is also an art educator who visits schools to give presentations about art and writing. She has three grown daughters and a bulldog named Jasper (for the artist, Jasper Johns).


Portrait of an Artist
(with Sandra Jordan)

—A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
—An ALA Notable Book

“An exceptional biography.”—Starred, Booklist

“This outstanding, well-researched biography is fascinating reading.”—School Library Journal

(with Sandra Jordan)

—An ALA Notable Book
—A Booklist Editors’ Choice
—A Child Study Children’s Book Committee Children’s Book of the Year
—A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
—A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
—An IRA Teachers’ Choice
—A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book

“[An] intelligent, articulate, and handsome introduction to the language of art.”—Starred, Booklist

“An excellent book for art students, as well as for teachers who are looking for words and ways to explain contemporary art to their classes.”—Starred, School Library Journal

“Beautifully designed, organized, reasoned, and presented, an outstanding, mind-expanding book.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews

(with Sandra Jordan)

“A companion to The Painter’s Eye that’s equally enriching, intelligently organized, and provocative. . . . Handsome and inspiring.”—Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“Sometimes matter-of-fact, sometimes dreamy, and always thought-provoking.”—Starred, The Bulletin

“Greenberg and Jordan demonstrate mastery of the language of art and of the vocabulary of young people.”—Starred, School Library Journal



"By the end, the man and the myth have become one." - Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Greenberg and Jordan offer a riveting biography that humanizes their controversial subject without making judgments or sensationalizing. Their lucid insight into the art is also exceptional." - Booklist, Starred

"As usual for this author pairing, the text is a model of thorough and inventive research." - The Bulletin, Starred

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