Fine Art, Prints & Posters

Andy Warhol's cats: 15 minutes of feline fame

Andy Warhol's Cats

Of course, Andy Warhol, maestro of Pop Art, loved cats. How could he not? Fifty years before I Can Has Cheezburger, Warhol was putting cute cats in front of people.

In the 1950s, Warhol lived with several dozen cats and his mother, Julia, in a New York apartment. In 1954, he privately published a limited edition artist's book of hand-coloured lithographs called 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy. That is indeed a typo in the book title but who cared when New York was about to be turned on its head by modern art. To mess with your mind even more, there are only 16 cats called Sam in the book, which is filled with vibrant colours and calligraphy by his mother.

At this time in his life, Warhol - who died in 1987 - was working as an impoverished freelance children's book illustrator. When his mother learned about Andy's dire situation, she moved from Pittsburgh to New York in order to help her son. 25 Cats was one of their projects. Original editions of the book are almost impossible to find but a small number of copies from a 1987 Random House reprint are available. Prices start at around £60.

The artist's collection of felines began with Hester but Warhol worried that Hester would be lonely. Sam arrived and, in no time at all, there was a colony of 25 cats in the apartment. Warhol's nephew, James Warhola wrote a book about the whole thing called Uncle Andy's Cats.

A small number of offset lithographs from plates removed from an original copy of 25 Cats are available from London's Peter Harrington Rare Books via AbeBooks.

Andy Warhol's Cat Books: Holy Cats, and 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy

Warhol and his mother also privately published a second cat book, Holy Cats, which tells the story of Hester's adventures in heaven.

Warhol wasn't the only artist who loved cats. Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Frida Kahlo were in the same pea green boat. We recommend reading Artists and Their Cats by Alison Nastasi - a book that gathers photographs of 50 famous artists with their beloved feline friends. There's Dali's pet ocelot Babou, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's menagerie of cats including Salt and Pepper.

12 pieces of essential art by Andy Warhol

It's possible to decorate your home in Andy Warhol's most famous artwork without breaking the bank at Monte Carlo. Browse this selection of posters, silkscreens and other collectible items displaying the artist's most memorable work. Prices for Warhol posters begin at $50 and we particularly recommend browsing this Andy Warhol Collection.
By Andy Warhol
The original 'Marilyn Diptych' was a silkscreen painting completed in shortly after Monroe's death in 1962. The original is in London's Tate museum.
By Andy Warhol
Another one from 1962. The original consisted of 32 canvases showing all the varieties of Campbell's soup. Pure pop art.
By Andy Warhol
In 1986, Mercedes commissioned Warhol to produce car-themed art. He died before completing the assignment.
By Andy Warhol
In 1966, Warhol was inspired to produce cow art because they were such an enduring image.
By Andy Warhol
Originally a screenprint from 1972 when Warhol returned to creating portraits of famous people.
By Andy Warhol
Warhol applied his signature style to many self-portraits over three decades.
By Andy Warhol
In 1982, Warhol produced four screenprints featuring the portrait of the German intellectual.
By Andy Warhol
A silkscreen from 1954 of the Mercedes 300 SL Coupe.
Warhol created 10 screenprints based on photos by Patricia Caulfield, who took sued as the artist.
By Andy Warhol
Warhol created several images of actress Ingrid Bergman at the request of a Swedish art gallery.
By Andy Warhol
He created four screenprints of Botticelli's Venus, Roman goddess of love. Another take on fame and celebrity.
By Andy Warhol
An early example of pop art from 1954.

Five essential books written by Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was fluid in how he approached his work. He happily managed the Velvet Underground while also producing silkscreens for his next exhibition. Books were also part of his creative experience. Here are five books by Warhol that provide further insight into his life and art.
By Andy Warhol & Suzie Frankfurt
A limited edition cookbook. In 1959, Warhol worked with socialite Frankfurt to produce a camp and fanciful cookbook. It contains 19 illustrations to accompany recipes such Omelet Greta Garbo and Piglet a la Trader Vic's. Look for the affordable facsimile edition from 1997 where prices start around $60. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, $4,500.
By Andy Warhol
Highly collectible. Published in 1967 by Random House, this is a pop-up book for hipsters. It contains photographs, quotations, bits of art, and a myriad things to interact with (think 'Pat the Bunny' for adults) such as a 45 rpm record, a balloon, and a geographic shape attached to a string. Prices run from $300 to $10,000. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, $3,000.
By Andy Warhol
Warhol bought a new camera in 1976 and decided to do a photography book. Lots of rock stars, fashion and politics. It offers an insight into the lives of Warhol's celebrity friends, both in pictures and via his entertaining narration. It's possible to find copies under $50. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, $3,000.
By Andy Warhol
This is confessional autobiography that could also be an artist's instruction manual. It combines the Pop Art musings with concrete business suggestions. The 1975 first editions are worth four figures if they are signed. Plenty of cheap reprints are available. Again prices start around $10. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, $2,150
By Andy Warhol
Spanning the mid-1970s until just a few days before his death in 1987, these diaries were dictated to Warhol's friend and fellow artist Pat Hackett. A real insight into the artist's life and the people he hung around with - Jackie O, Yoko Ono, Francis Bacon, and Salvador Dali for instance. Prices start around $10.
By Taschen
And a bonus book. We also recommend Taschen's Andy Warhol: Polaroids 1958-1987 as another way to understand how Warhol lived his life among New York's celebrities. He took thousands of pictures and you will find images of Mick Jagger, Alfred Hitchcock, Jack Nicholson, Yves Saint Laurent, Pelé, and Debbie Harry alongside landscapes and soup cans.

What Warhol left behind?

It's possible to find some unusual objects for sale signed by Andy Warhol and other paper collectibles relating to his work. There is also an entire industry dedicated reproducing his art in the form of jigsaw puzzles, wall calendars and other products.

Who was Andy Warhol?

His parents came from Slovakia. Born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928, he was a visual artist who was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement. He started as a commercial illustrator and worked in book publishing, before becoming an independent creative artist. His mediums included drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. His studio in New York was called The Factory and it attracted numerous celebrities and free thinkers.

The highest price paid for a Warhol was £84 million for a painting called Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), which depicts a body in mangled wreckage. To see the best collection of Warhol art and materials, head to Pittsburgh, his hometown, which has the Andy Warhol Museum. Pop Art mixed fine art with popular culture so advertising and commercial imagery was embraced by pioneering artists who applied color and radically different contexts to simple images intended to sell products. The most famous Warhol Pop Art work is the Campbell's Soup Can.

Warhol died in New York on February 22, 1987. He had transcended art by this time and had simply become one of the most famous people on the planet.

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Video Companion
Andy Warhol's 25 Cats


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