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.
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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. A lithograph of one of the cats costs more than £7,200 and the Blue Pussy costs more than £12,000.
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. Original copies are priced between £2,400 and £4,000 but again there is a much cheaper reprint from the late 1980s. Prices for reprints start around £40.
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.
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 collectable items displaying the artist's most memorable work. Prices for Warhol posters begin at £40 and we particularly recommend browsing Rare Posters' Andy Warhol Collection.
He created four screenprints of Botticelli's Venus, Roman goddess of love. Another take on fame and celebrity.
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.
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 £40. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, £3,600.
Highly collectable. 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 £250 to £8,000. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, £2,400.
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 £40. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, £2,400.
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.
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 £8.
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 £8. Most expensive copy to sell on AbeBooks, £1,720
What Warhol Left Behind?
It's possible to find some unusual objects for sale signed by Andy Warhol and other paper collectables 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.
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 colour 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.