Printed in 1954, Cats Named Sam IV 63 is an offset lithograph by Andy Warhol that differs from the portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley that the Pop artist is largely associated with. Privileging feline over celebrity, this print depicts a cat’s portrait in vibrant pink with bold pink eyes staring to the side of the composition. Beneath the cat, the name Sam is written in elegant calligraphy.
Cats Named Sam IV 63 is part of the Cats Named Sam series, produced by Warhol while he was living with his mother on East 57th Street in Manhattan, New York. One of 16 lithograph prints, Cats Named Sam IV 63 was produced to accompany a children’s book Warhol published called 25 Cats Name (sic) Sam and One Blue Pussy. This series therefore captures the influence of Warhol’s early career, as a freelance children’s book illustrator, and his development to becoming a renowned Pop artist and icon of the 20th century.
This print features Warhol’s signature blotted line technique, achieved by transferring an ink illustration onto a separate piece of paper, that could then be coloured in with watercolour dyes. Each print in this series has a unique colour composition, demonstrating Warhol’s creative and playful use of colour which has come to characterise his work.