Warhol Cat PortraitsDid you know, in 1954, Andy Warhol, a renowned cat lover, published a series of 25 cat portraits in book form? Printed on limited edition, hand-colored Arches watermarked paper, the prints were privately printed and made as a Christmas keepsake. He named his book “25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy.” He had originally meant it to read “… Named Sam” but his mother, who did the lettering, left off the “d” and Warhol thought that the final version was fine.

In the 1950s, Warhol bought a brownstone where he and his mother resided. And, although they had owned cats for twenty years, his series of cat portraits were not based on the cats he lived with and knew. Instead, they were based on the photographs of New York Cat Photographer Walter Chandoha.

In the 1970s, Warhol ‘s interest with cats faded and his interest in dogs rose. His boyfriend decided they should get a short-haired Dachshund puppy. They named the dog “Archie”. warhol dog portraits

Warhol became so enthralled with Archie that he became his alter ego. As he held Archie during interviews, when Warhol did not want to answer a particular question, he would simply deflect the questions to Archie. Warhol took the dog everywhere – to his studio, to art openings, to dinner, to photo shoots, and to London when his work took him there.

When Archie was almost three, another Dachshund came into the picture. This dog, they called “Amos”. The three of them got along famously. Amos and Archie would run around the townhouse barking, chasing and playing with one another while providing constant entertainment for Warhol. All was well, except now Archie would stay at home with his newfound friend Amos instead of gallivanting the city with Warhol.

In 1976, the art collector Peter Brant commissioned Andy Warhol to paint his Cocker Spaniel named Ginger. Andy made two paintings of Ginger, as well as drawings. Peter Brant liked these so much that he thought Warhol should do a whole series of cat and dog drawings. Andy liked the idea too. It would open up a new area of commission portraits and would give him a chance to use Archie and Amos in his work.

Also Andy, just like us, liked to work from photographs when creating his cat portraits and dog portraits. He said he had a difficult time staging his pets and having them remain still – which we can certainly understand.

Source: Melanie Light

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