Printed in 1954, Cats Named Sam IV 62 is an offset lithograph by Andy Warhol that depicts two cats in light pastel pink rendered against a plain backdrop. While most the prints in the Cats Named Sam series feature only one cat, this print renders a larger cat cradling a little kitten. Black gestural lines delineate the two cats against each other and accentuate their fur and whiskers.
The Cats Named Sam series was produced by Warhol in 1954 to accompany a children’s book he wrote, 25 Cats Name (sic) Sam and One Blue Pussy. Despite what the title indicates, Warhol produced 16 and not 25 prints alongside the book, each of which has a unique colour composition and was hand coloured by Warhol or one of his friends. The inspiration for this series came from Warhol’s home life. The artist’s mother, Julia, came to live with him in New York in 1952 and while sharing an apartment with Warhol, Julia had 25 pet cats.
The influence of Warhol’s early career as a freelance children’s book illustrator is evident in this series, which marks the beginning of his trajectory to becoming a famous Pop artist. The print also features Warhol’s signature blotted line technique which came to mark much of his earlier work from the 1940s and 1950s, notably the commercial illustrations he produced for fashion magazines.