In 1950s New York, before he became one of the most famous names of the 20th century,Andy Warholwas alreadya skilled and successful commercial artist. During this time, as part of his strategy to woo clients and forge friendships, he created sevenhandmade artist’s books, reserved to his most valued contacts.These featured personal, unique drawings and quirky texts revealing his fondness for—among other subjects—cats, food, myths, shoes, beautiful boys, and gorgeous girls.
Decades later, withoriginals now changing hands for thousands of dollars at auction, TASCHEN presents animmaculate portfolio of these seven books, five of which havenever before been republished, beautifully packaged together for the very first time and replicating Warhol’s originals as closely as possible down to the format, dimensions, and paper stock. With titles such asLove Is a Pink Cake,25 Cats Named Sam,andÀ la Recherche du Shoe Perdu, the series reveals the artist’soff-the-wall characteras well as hisaccomplished draftsmanship,boundless creativity, and innuendo-laced humor.
The seven books makedelightful play with styles and genres as much as with design, materials, and formats. The lithograph portfolioA Is for Alphabetdevotes a page to each letter of the alphabet, with illustrations complemented by stumbling three-line verses that tell of strange encounters between man and animal.In the Bottom of My Gardenis at once a Warhol twist on a children’s book and a covert celebration of gay love.Wild Raspberries, meanwhile, is a spoofcookbookwith a cornucopia of adventurous recipes on 19 portrait-format pages of instructions and illustrations.
This colorful portfolio is supplemented by anXL-sized, 56-page guidebookintroducing each of Warhol’s illustrations. Complete withrarely seen photographs of the artist, inspirational ephemera, andcommercial assignments, it contextualizes Warhol’s 1950s art, offering a glimpse into his early creative process as well as his endearing, playful character.
“The Foundation is delighted to collaborate with TASCHEN to introduce Warhol’s whimsical books from the 1950s. Theserarely seen gemsprovide a unique perspective on one of the world’s most fascinating artists,” says Michael Dayton Hermann, Director of Licensing of the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Little-known, much-coveted jewels in the Warhol crown, these hand-drawn delights are as appealing and original today as they were back in the halcyon days of the 1950s and offer aunique glimpse at a budding genius on the cusp of global fame.
Reuel Goldenis the former editor of theBritish Journal of Photographyand the Photography editor at TASCHEN. His TASCHEN titles include:Mick Rock: The Rise of David Bowie, both London and New YorkPortrait of a Citybooks,Andy Warhol. Polaroids,The Rolling Stones,Her Majesty,Football in the 1970s, theNational Geographiceditions, andThe David Bailey SUMO.
The contributing author
Nina Schleifis a German art historian, Americanist, and curator. In 2013, she initiated and curated the first exhibition anywhere on Andy Warhol’s oeuvre in books at Museum Brandhorst in Munich. She also edited and coauthored the exhibition catalogReading Andy Warhol. Backed by a recent Smithsonian fellowship, she has written a monograph on Warhol’s 1950s drawings that will be published in 2017.