January 21, 2010

Andy Warhol's 'A Is An Alphabet'

warhol_alphabet_princeton.jpg

When he was trying to drum up work as an illustrator in the 1950s, Andy Warhol made little gifts for his clients and friends--mostly painted Ukrainian Easter eggs and little portfolios of drawings and poems wrapped in tissue.

A Is An Alphabet, 1953, is called Warhol's first illustrated book, but it's really just a portfolio, 26 unbound offset lithographs on tracing paper. The examples in Princeton's library have little typewritten labels: "a is an alphabet by andy and corkie."

Corkie was Ralph T. Ward, some boy Warhol fell in love with during some raucous underwear-dancing at a friend's Christmas party in Brooklyn in 1952. He wrote the poems for two 1953 portfolios, A Is An Alphabet and Love Is A Pink Cake, and one that was never published, called There was snow in the street and rain in the sky, which is dated 1952. Guess Warhol and Ward worked straight through the holidays.

It's not clear how many copies of A Is An Alphabet were produced. Warhol apparently numbered them so that everyone thought they were getting an early example from the edition. But one sold at Sotheby's in 2007. And NYC private dealer Skot Foreman has one for sale; and he has all 26 pages online for your alphabetical enlightenment.

Why the Warhol Foundation futzes around with cobbled-together Warhol "books" when they have something like this they could reissue, I have no idea.

Andy Warhol's "a is an alphabet" [blogs.princeton.edu]

LOT 519, 02 Nov 2007: ANDY WARHOL, A IS AN ALPHABET, sold for $11,250
[sothebys]
A is an Alphabet, price on request [skotforeman.com]

1 Comment

If Andy Warhol Wrote Poetry:


Mao Tse Tung
by
Andy Warhol

red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red red

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