Printed in 1954, Cats Named Sam IV 56 is an offset lithograph by Andy Warhol from early on in his career as a Pop artist. This print depicts a cat in a light coloured pastel pink rendered against a light backdrop. Dark gestural lines delineate the cat's figure against the similarly pale background and adds texture to the cat's fur. Sitting elegantly on its hind lefts in the centre of the composition, the cat is looking inquisitively to the right print. Next to the cat’s legs, its name Sam, is written in beautiful calligraphy. The colours in this print are subtler and less bold than the others in the series, which is uncharacteristic of Warhol’s traditional use of vibrant and flamboyant colour.
Cats Named Sam IV 56 is part of the Cats Named Sam series, produced by Warhol in 1954 while he was living with his mother, and her 25 cats, in New York. Warhol produced 16 lithograph prints to accompany a book he published called 25 Cats Name (sic) Sam and One Blue Pussy. This series marks an important point in Warhol’s artistic career as he was on the cusp of becoming a renowned artist after struggling as a freelance commercial and children’s book illustrator.
Not only does this print capture Warhol’s skilful drawing, but also it reflects Warhol's early experimentation with combining the simple, gestural lines of his sketches with bright blocks of colour that are added after the process of making the lithograph print.