Coca-Cola’s relationship with Andy Warhol began in 1962, when he began using the iconic Coca-Cola bottle in his pop art. Warhol’s use of the Coke bottle came at a time when he was establishing himself as an artist and he used the bottle as inspiration to develop his own identity.
One of his first Coca-Cola inspired artworks was named ‘Green Coca-Cola Bottles’ which featured 112 empty green glass Coke bottles in 7 rows of 16, with the Coca-Cola logo featured at the bottom of the painting.
Warhol’s relationship with Coca-Cola did not end with this artwork, and spanned across decades. In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company received widespread attention due to the introduction of a new Coke formula. Time Magazine turned to the artistic talents of Warhol, asking him to use New Coke as potential cover art for one of their stories.
This cover art involved Warhol pouring the drink onto art paper to create a spill effect and taking polaroids of the can as a guide before drawing the artwork. Ultimately, the magazine did not run the story or the artwork as Coca-Cola returned to its original formula. The artwork is displayed at the Coca-Cola headquarters.
Several other Coca-Cola inspired works of Warhol’s have received widespread attention including the 1962 painting “Coca-Cola (3)” which is considered a founding painting of the Pop Art movement. The painting was so influential it was sold at a Christie’s auction in New York for more than $57 million USD in 2013.
Warhol created over 15 artworks related to Coca-Cola throughout his career, and many of them were featured in The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100 exhibition at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in 2015.