Warhol’s ‘new’ book

A never-before-published book created from a series of illustrated frames for a cartoon by Andy Warhol is now available.

The book, The Autobiography of a Snake is the result of Warhol’s last commercial commission by Arthur and Teddy Edelman – Teddy unfortunately passing away just last week.

The Autobiography of a Snake details the story of “a snake trying to make it in the world of sixties high society”, which is likely a metaphor for Warhol’s life. The snake makes tongue-in-cheek observations as he ‘dresses’ celebrities of the era, from adorning Jackie Kennedy’s boots to embellishing Coco Chanel’s shirt which will “delight the sophisticated fashion crowd”, according to the synopsis. Without doubt though the stars are Warhol’s illustrations, “revivified with a color scheme inspired by his iconic Pop Art.”

Before finding fame as an artist in New York, Warhol worked as a commercial artist; in advertising for leather goods company, Fleming-Joffe, alongside Ogden Nash and Piero Fornasetti. The images in The Autobiography of a Snake were commissioned by Arthur and Teddy Edelman, who owned Fleming-Joffe, and are now held at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These images have rarely been seen by the public and those outside of the “inner circle” until now.

The book shows Warhol’s diverse style, created at a time when he was both a jobbing illustrator and a fine artist. As Blake Gopnik, explains, it offers an insight into the “fascinating relationship between the Factory production of fine art and the factory production of commercial art that went on simultaneously in Warhol’s world.”

Contributors to The Autobiography of a Snake – Author: Andy Warhol / Afterword: Teddy and Arthur Edelman, along with her husband Arthur, Teddy gave Andy Warhol his first job in New York.

Released by Thames & Hudson.