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Named Sam

Find out more about Andy Warhol's Cats Named Sam series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

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Critical Review

Aside from an obsession with celebrity and consumer culture, Warhol dedicated a large body of work to depicting cats, as seen in this series.Before making it as an artist Warhol worked as a freelance commercial and children’s book illustrator. He lived in an apartment on East 57th Street with his mother Julia Warhola and 25 cats who all shared the same name. In 1954 he published a children's book called 25 Cats Name (sic) Sam and One Blue Pussy for which he produced 16 – not 25 despite what the title suggests – lithographs accompanied by his mother’s exquisite calligraphy. The original book is extremely rare but the prints have survived and are each unique, having been hand coloured by Warhol or his friends. These are some of the earliest works by Warhol on the market today and they offer a rare insight into his playful outlook and talent for colour.

The cats in the series vary from fuchsia pink – Sam 51– to bright yellow – the most famous feline from the series, Sam 58 – to elegant brick red – Sam 65 – to the more traditional tabby of Sam 54, startlingly contrasted by the One Blue Pussy of the title, known here as Sam 68. With this rainbow menagerie Warhol appears to be testing the possibilities of combining the simple and elegant lines of his sketches with the bright blocks of colour that could be added after the process of making the lithograph. With works such as Sam 66 we can see how the colour is often laid over the lines to create an offset effect. Warhol would exploit this technique further when he turned his hand to screen printing.