AXA ART handles claims for various types of artworks, ranging from paintings to sculptures, and then to the more unconventional pieces. Recently, we settled a claim for a Pop Art paper dress.
Between 1966 and 1968, the Campbell’s Soup Company had an unusual promotion. Customers could purchase a paper Souper Dress, inspired by the iconic Soup Can series by the artist Andy Warhol, at the price of just one dollar and two soup can labels. The dress evoked the spirit of the era and in particular the Pop Art movement which fused art with the material of contemporary, urban life. Pop artists such as Lichtenstein, Rosenquist and Warhol were inspired by the every day – comic strips, billboards and film star pin-ups feature in many of their works. Even the contents of the average American’s shopping basket inspired Warhol, whose artworks adopted the brand imagery of simple goods such as Brillo soap pads, bottles of Coca Cola and cans of Campbell’s soup.
Warhol’s classic red, black and white soup can design was printed repeatedly upon the Campbell Souper Dress, creating an eye catching fashion statement. The dress was supposed to be disposed of after the first wear. As such, the number of dresses that survived remains unknown. The interest in these ephemeral pieces has increased in the last 50 years and examples can now be found in some of the world’s leading fine art collections, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York and exhibitions dedicated to the Pop Art movement.
The Souper Dress pictured was insured by AXA ART whilst part of an exhibition at a UK museum. Unfortunately, the item was torn whilst on display and could not be restored to the lenders satisfaction. The owners’ insurance claim was settled as a total loss. The dress now forms part of AXA ART’s salvage collection and is currently on display in our London office.