Adventure U.S.

Andy Warhol Museum: 10 Amazing Things To See

Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh let’s you dive into the life of the 20th century’s most famous artist – floor by floor – from cradle to grave. You start by taking the elevator to the top of the building and then work your way down to the lobby.

The travel through time started when I swung open the Andy Warhol Museum doors. I was startled to see repeating images of Warhol on the foyer walls. This quick succession of capturing Warhol’s image put my mind into burst mode. Click. Click. Click.

“The Andy Warhol Museum tells Andy Warhol’s story and explores his legacy through the largest collection of Warhol art and archives in the world.”

A world-famous artist and icon of the 1960s, Andy Warhol is now synonymous with an entire genre of art, Pop.

Andy Warhol Museum Family Scrapbook

My journey into the life and times of Warhol started on my elevator ride to the 7th floor (located on the top floor of the building). The museum choreographs the patron’s experience of understanding Warhol’s development as an artist by beginning with his birth.

He was the youngest son of Andrew and Julia Warhola, Eastern European immigrants from the country now known as Slovakia. Born on August 6, 1928, Andy grew up in Pittsburgh and showed artistic inclinations as a young child.

“The Warholas were a working class family and saw unique creative talent in their youngest son, Andy.”

You’ll feel like you dove into the family scrapbook as you see photos of Andy as a young child with his parents and siblings at the Andy Warhol Museum.

But I was most touched by Andy’s love of pets.

Self-Published Book of Cats

In 1954, Warhol self-published an illustrated book, called 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy. The pink tabby had golden eyes that stared into my eyes. The pink cat’s pink paws seem to request “Please pick me up.”

Warhol’s self-published book (right)

Warhol hand-colored these books at “coloring parties” with friends and associates.

Hand-Painted Pop

The Pop Art movement originated in Britain at the end of the 1950s. Warhol was drawn to it, seeing an opportunity to create art based on popular culture. As a young advertising executive, Warhol effortlessly blended the world of business and art.

“By the early 1960s, Warhol’s paintings of dollar bills, soup cans, and movie stars established his status as the founder of pop art.”

National Gallery of Art

Even before he became famous for painting ordinary objects, such as a can of Campbell’s tomato soup, Warhol experimented with fanciful artistic advertising.

Miss Dior ad

The museum showcased an illustration for Miss Dior. The woman’s head is filled with symbols of sewing, including a dummy model, scissors, needle, and thread. Her ambitions wind around her like a measuring stick. The red, white and blue French flag flies in the lower left corner. One leg swings in the air, decorated in illustrated tights. A red pump with a four-inch heel suggests adventures are ahead. Modeling? Runway?

Hearts, Birds, and Cats ca. 1960-1961

This simplistic portrait of “Puss” reveals so much about Andy and his love of felines. Although he is now in his 30s, he pens a drawing of cats with his mother Julia Warhola. The drawing of cats are so simplistic that it could be the work of a 5-year-old. But these intelligent felines are clearly loved as denoted by the red heart in the center of the drawing.

The gallery includes several portraits of cats. The ink and graphite drawing on Strathmore paper is entitled the “Cat with ‘Purr’ Inscriptions.”

This section of the gallery focuses on his mother Julia’s support of her son’s ambitions to be an artist. Julia even bought a camera and film projector when Andy was a child. After 1952, she moved to New York City to assist her son.


I was bewitched by the portrait of seven sets of eyes, entitled “Fortune.” Each set of eyes differed in slant, color, and shape.


All the eyes seemed to follow me as I rotated around the gallery room where the painting hung. It was an Andy Warhol painting yet different. It seemed to show how he was always the artist who was watching and gauging reaction.

Silkscreen Printing

Warhol was famous for his silkscreen printing. It allowed him to mass produce his art so it could be collected by the masses. He achieved unusual effect by “underpainting” an image before printing. He also experimented painting the background in a solid color.

In his series on the Elvis, he produced images of a “Cowboy Elvis” pulling his gun. The painting takes up an entire wall. You will feel instantly in communication with Elvis.

Andy Warhol Animals

Hidden off to the side at the Andy Warhol Museum is an intimate space with dog and cat paintings. It was my favorite section of the museum. I already knew that the “young Andy” had harbored a love of cats given the number of feline portraits in the museum. But the section of the museum dedicated to animal portraits demonstrated his dual love of canines and felines.

Without question, Warhol captured the personality of the pets through his use of shadow and positioning. I think my favorite was “Deux Cats” which showcased a white cat and a black cat staring into space.

The animal portrait gallery included Pom, a King Charles spaniel, a west Highland terrier (named Lenny Bruce), Warhol’s dachshunds (Archie and Ames), and a cat named Broadway. This room also included two stuffed pets-a cat named Factory and a dog named Cecil. These paintings were christened “Andy Warhol Animals.”

Dogs love their humans, and no painting more succiently shows this romance than the brown dog staring into his human’s eyes.

Eggs, 1982

If you want to understand the young boy growing up during the Depression in an immigrant family, you need to understand his heritage. Andy lovingly painted a portrait of Easter Eggs (Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen) in 1982.

“Warhol’s childhood was inextricably tied to his Carpatho-Rusyn heritage. Each Easter, Warhol would join his mother in the process of waxing and dyeing elaborate designs on eggs called pysanky . . .”

Eggs, 1982

This is a tradition common in Eastern Europe. The eggs would be blessed on Easter Sunday. Warhol later recreated this tradition by painting pictures of eggs which he gave to friends.

Pop Portraits

Warhol became famous for his “pop portraits” of famous people, so there is an entire gallery room at the museum. Being a lifelong fan of Judy Garland, I was thrilled to see her portrait. Warhol was obsessed with Judy Garland.

“I watched as five boys carried her off the elevator on their shoulders. It was odd because that night, for some reason, nobody seemed to notice her. I noticed her, though. I always noticed Judy Garland.”

Andy Warhol

From the moment I walked in the gallery where Judy’s portrait hung, I couldn’t stop staring at her. Although Warhol is most famous for his portraits of Marilyn Monroe, I was transfixed by his portrait of the adult Garland.

Judy Garland painting

The biggest complaint that I read online is that you don’t see Warhol’s most iconic paintings at the Andy Warhol Museum. But understandly, these are also the most valued paintings. But you can find an iconic Marilyn Monroe painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. While there, don’t forget to check out the NGA’s Sculpture Garden. I think Andy would have the modern artwork, especially Alexander Calder’s Red Horse.

Skull, 1976

One of the most haunting paintings at the museum is the Skull (acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen). It takes up an entire wall so I needed to pace back and forth to look at it at all angles.

Momento mori silkscreen

Many critics suggest that the Skull paintings are Warhol’s contribution to momento mori art.

“Memento mori, from Latin, translates roughly to ‘remember that you are mortal’ or ‘remember you will die.’

Valerie Solanas shot Warhol in the abdomen in 1968. Although he was believed dead on arrival at the hospital, Warhol was saved by five hours of surgery. He lived for another 19 years.

Andy Warhol’s premature death at age 58 in 1987 sent shockwaves through the world. He had been targeted but survived an assassination attempt. But last then a decade later, the Prince of Pop was dead at age 58.

New York Post cover story

Warhol’s grave site is viewable 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the collaborative project between The Warhol and EarthCam that is called Figment. Click the link to review:  EarthCam.

“I never understood why when you died, you didn’t just vanish, and everything could just keep going on the way it was only you wouldn’t be there. I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment.”

Andy Warhol

Warhol’s funeral took place on February 26, 1987, at Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church in Pittsburgh. Warhol was buried alongside his parents, Julia and Andrej Warhola, at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery.

Andy Warhol Quotes

Warhol was an artist but he also was a 1960s ”Don Draper” ad man, through and through. He knew how to craft a sound bite before the concept even existed. Below I share some of my favorite Warhol truisms about life. And to think that he created all these “quotable” on his typewriter-like brain.


“Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”

“In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”

“My fascination with letting images repeat and repeat – or in film’s case ‘run on’ – manifests my belief that we spend much of our lives seeing without observing.”

“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.”

“I like boring things.”

“I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.”

“Art is what you can get away with.”

“Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”

“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.”

“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”

Andy Warhol, The East Village Other (1966)
Self-portrait (Foyer of Andy Warhol Museum)

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  • KarlaTypes
    August 13, 2022 at 8:39 am

    His art is so interesting, I would love to visit someday!

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      It is a very cool museum. You get to explore all his life through the different exhibits. Plus there are archives.

  • Sabrina
    August 13, 2022 at 11:05 am

    Great guide!

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 12:45 pm


  • Emma
    August 13, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    I always think of Andy Warhol’s pop culture-like artwork so it’s really nice to see some of his other work here and read a bit more about his life.

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 2:56 pm

      Warhol was such a varied artist with his advertising career, film career, and book illustration. I definitely saw him as more than the “Prince of Pop” Art after visiting the museum.

  • Jen
    August 13, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    This is an awesome guide! I’ve been wanting to go there for so long and every time I’ve been in Pburgh it’s been a day the museum is closed. Hoping to get there on my birthday someday since he and I share the same birth day (not year, haha).

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 2:55 pm

      Oh that is so cool! You definitely are birthday twins. I lucked out because admission was free on a Wednesday afternoon at 4 pm. It is worth the $20 ticket fee.

    August 13, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    That is such an interesting museum.

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 2:53 pm


  • Erin
    August 13, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    I didn’t realize there was an Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. So interesting! I love visiting museums, so this would be at the top of my list when I visit Pittsburgh. I love the quotes you included from Andy Warhol too!

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 2:53 pm

      Luckily my niece mentioned visiting it so I made a point to tour. I would put it as a Top 10 thing to do when visiting Pittsburgh.

  • Lauren
    August 13, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    what a great guide! I’d love to visit someday!

  • Chelsea Messina
    August 13, 2022 at 3:03 pm

    Very interesting history! Do you know what ended up being written on his tombstone?

  • Janice
    August 13, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    Love the way Andy has captured the essence of cats.

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 9:08 pm


  • Stephanie
    August 13, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    The Andy Warhol Museums looks so fun! I had no idea he did that illustrated book!

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 9:07 pm

      I learn a lot of unexpected things about Andy Warhol at this museum.

  • sam
    August 13, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    Great, inforative post 🙂 Not a huge fan of that style of work but can appriciate the talent and history too- would be an interesting visit!

    • Terri
      August 13, 2022 at 9:07 pm


  • Sharyn
    August 13, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    I’m not really into art but this art museum looks very interesting – particularly the Elvis art.

  • Shannon
    August 13, 2022 at 11:10 pm

    What a unique and fun place to visit!

  • Mayi
    August 14, 2022 at 3:49 am

    The Andy Warhol Museum is such a cool
    Museum. I had no idea that he was a native of Pittsburg. I would love to go and see more of his works including the famous print of Marilyn Monroe and the Campbell’s soup can. Thanks for sharing.

    • Terri
      August 14, 2022 at 3:00 pm

      I am sure a lot of people didn’t know that Andy Warhol was a native of Pittsburgh! As a kid, he loved using Andrew Carnegie’s free libraries.

  • Anja
    August 14, 2022 at 6:39 am

    Pittsburgh is just becoming a wishlist destination for me! We have the odd work by Andy Warhol here and there in European cities, but a whole museum of just Warhol takes this to a new dimension! Thank you for educating me! Love the eggs and the cats, never seen many Warhol cats.

    • Terri
      August 14, 2022 at 2:59 pm

      I saw so many things about Warhol that I didn’t know before. It was a great education.

  • Brittany
    August 14, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    What a cool museum! I feel like Pennsylvania is filled with so many great museums. I need to visit again soon!

    • Terri
      August 14, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      This is my first time exploring museums in Pittsburgh. It was definitely a great choice.

  • Karen
    August 14, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    What a great collection, I’d love to visit it someday.

    • Terri
      August 15, 2022 at 5:24 am

      It is great.

  • Tish
    August 14, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    I love Andy’s Pop collection
    I do not remember the animals so I will have to return to visit that Museum sometime

    • Terri
      August 15, 2022 at 5:24 am

      I love Andy’s Animals!

  • Denise
    August 15, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    I’m not always a fan of Andy Warhol’s art, but I am fascinated by his life. I will definitely hit this museum when I’m in Pittsburg.

  • Mohana and Aninda
    August 17, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    Such a unique museum! We’d totally love to visit.