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Andy Warhol
Pink 'Sam Sam' from 25 Cats... Hand-Coloured lithograph with signed frontispiece

1954

$21,965.45

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Andy Warhol limited edition hand-coloured offset lithograph of pink 'Sam Sam' mother and kitten, 1954, with in addition, rare signed frontispiece showing copy 69 of 190. (Feldman Schellmann iv. 55) From an important British collection, acquired from the Sims Reed Gallery, St James's, London. In the 1950s, long before he had invented himself as pop art’s pioneer, Andy Warhol was making ends meet by working as a freelance children’s book illustrator for Doubleday. Still, he was unable to escape poverty. When his mother, Julia Warhola — an artist herself and one of history’s unsung champions behind creative icons — found out about her son’s destitute conditions in 1952, she boarded a bus from Pittsburgh to New York and moved into Andy’s tiny apartment on East 75th Street, intent on taking care of him and helping him get by. The two shared a love of cats so strong that their squalid home was populated by a multitude of felines, all but one named Sam; the sole outlier, Julia’s most beloved companion, was named Hester. But in addition to cat-rearing, the mother-son cohabitation inevitably led to a series of creative collaborations and an adventure of self-publishing. Warhol created colourful lithographs of the felines in his spare time and in 1954, Andy and Julia released a limited-edition artist’s book ungrammatically titled '25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy', featuring Andy’s signature blotted-line watercolour drawings in vibrant pop-art colors and calligraphy by Julia. Oddly enough, there were only sixteen rather than twenty-five cats portrayed and Julia had accidentally missed the letter “d” from “Named,” but Andy decided to keep the title and fold the idiosyncratic wording into the already quirky yet strangely contemporary concept — not only was it a book solely about cats half a century before the cat meme of the modern web, but it was also practically an illustrated listicle. It is very rare to have the signed frontispiece from the original book together with the lithograph. The dimensions given are of the artwork framed. The dimensions of the lithograph itself are : 22.5cm x 14.5cm. And the frontispiece measures 22.5cm x 15cm.

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About Andy Warhol (Artist)

The name of American artist Andy Warhol is all but synonymous with Pop art, the movement he helped shape in the 1960s. He is known for his clever appropriation of motifs and images from popular advertising and commercials, which he integrated into graphic, vibrant works that utilized mass-production technologies such as printmaking, photography and silkscreening. Later in his career, he expanded his oeuvre to include other forms of media, founding Interview magazine and producing fashion shoots and films on-site at the Factory, his world-famous studio in New York.


     Born and educated in in Pittsburgh, Warhol moved to New York City in 1949 and built a successful career as a commercial illustrator. Although he made whimsical drawings as a hobby during these years, his career as a fine artist began in the mid-1950s with ink-blot drawings and hand-drawn silkscreens. The 1955 lithograph You Can Lead a Shoe to Water illustrates how he incorporated in his artwork advertising styles and techniques, in this case shoe commercials.


     As a child, Warhol was often sick and spent much of his time in bed, where he would make sketches and put together collections of movie-star photographs. He described this period as formative in terms of his skills and interests. Indeed, Warhol remained obsessed with celebrities throughout his career, often producing series devoted to a famous face or an object from the popular culture, such as Chairman Mao or Campbell’s tomato soup. The1967 silkscreen Marilyn 25 embodies his love of bright color and famous subjects.


     Warhol was a prominent cultural figure in New York during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. The Factory was a gathering place for the era’s celebrities, writers, drag queens and fellow artists, and collaboration was common. To this day, Warhol remains one of the most important artists of the 20th century and continues to exert influence on contemporary creators.

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