Printed in 1954, Cats Named Sam IV 52 is an offset lithograph by Andy Warhol that marks the beginning of Warhol’s career as a Pop artist. This print is one of the earliest works by Warhol on the market today. The print depicts a stripped cat in lilac, lying on the floor, rendered against a plain backdrop. The cat stares directly at the viewer, and its orange eyes seem pensive. Warhol’s blotted line technique delineates the cat's arched back and curved tail. The cat occupies the centre of the print, with its name, Sam, written in elegant calligraphy at the bottom the composition, framed between its legs and tail.
Cats Named Sam IV 52 is part of the Cats Named Sam series, produced by Warhol while he was living with his mother, Julia, in New York in the 1950s. The inspiration for this series clearly came from Warhol’s experience sharing an apartment on East 57th Street in Manhattan with his mother and her 25 cats who were all, bar one, named Sam. The prints in this series were produced alongside a children's book Warhol published in 1954 called 25 Cats Name (sic) Sam and One Blue Pussy. Despite the book's title, Warhol only made 16 lithographs depicting these cats.
This print captures Warhol's talent for drawing and playful use of colour. Each print in the series has a unique colour composition and was hand coloured by Warhol or his friends. Cats Named Sam IV 52 reflects Warhol’s experimentation with combining simple, gestural lines with bright blocks of colour that could be added after the process of making the lithograph. These artistic techniques clearly influenced his later works, such as the Truck and Ads series.