Part I: Understanding the Catalogue Raisonné
The Catalogue Raisonné is the most detailed and extensive resource containing Warhol’s inventory of work. There are many versions and editions of the raisonné, which are updated with new findings and advanced research. The development and publishing of a catalogue raisonné typically takes several years to compile. There are three main Catalogue Raisonnés that have been published. Each details Warhol’s work depending on the medium used:
Painting, Sculpture and Drawings
Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné 1962-1987 is the third edition that was compiled and published in 1997 by the Foundation’s curators, Frayda Feldman and Claudia Defendi. In 2003, the edition was revised once more with additional sections entitled Illustrated Books and Portfolios from the 1950s. According to the Andy Warhol Foundation, this catalogue is “the authoritative reference source on the subject, illustrates the breadth of Warhol’s work in printmaking and the depth of his innovations in the field, which together secure his position as one of the most important graphic artists of the twentieth century.”
The catalogue raisonné currently in development is the addition of volume 4 to the multi-volume resource that will document Warhol’s painting, sculptures, and drawings from 1961-1976, aptly titled The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings, Sculptures, and Drawings. The four volumes are divided by periods of production, Volume 1 spanning 1961-1963, Volume 2 (1964-1969), Volume 3 (1970-1974) and the volume currently being developed, Volume 4 (1974-1976). This catalogue lists an inventory of works created in the three mediums, along with materials used, exhibitions and other relevant information regarding those particular mediums.
The catalogue raisonnés listed above are the single most comprehensive compilation of Warhol’s works, all of which are publicly endorsed and sponsored by the Andy Warhol Foundation. While research continues to provide new evidence not listed by the raisonnés in circulation, the catalogues continue to be revised and updated to reflect all of the most up to date and accurate information regarding Warhol’s vast collection of works.
Guide to Understanding the Catalogue Raisonné (Prints)
In Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné 1962-1987, the various types of prints that were developed are identified and catalogued based on several factors, including who the print was intended for, the edition of the print and the date in which it was created. Warhol had his printers create multiple versions, picking and choosing specific editions to be used for various purposes. While Warhol and his printer would decide that one particular color combination seemed like a good choice for the editioned print, another print could be considered suitable as the artist’s personal copy for other reasons.
It is widely known that Warhol used his art as a form of payment from anyone to his lawyer to gifts for his friends and family. These particular prints came from the Artist Proof (AP) editions. He created a separate edition of prints solely as a form of payment for his printer, labeled as Printers Proofs (PP).
While there are multiples of any given portfolio and print, some prints are more valuable than others, depending on their editions. For example, the trial proof prints are often times worth more because of their rarity. One single trial proof is the only one with its particular color combination and/or composition.
What does everything stand for?
(Name of Piece) II. (number): Chanel II.354: the number is a chronological method of cataloguing Warhol’s prints. It is used to distinguish his works beyond their names. For example, his Ads series is a collection of items numbered 350 – 395; each of those items is numbered depending on the order of their creation.
– From the Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonne 1962-1987: –
AP (Artist’s Proof): It is used to see the state of the print during the process. Also, intended for the artist’s personal use, commonly about 10% of the edition (but that can be higher, as in this case). Warhol used these editions as forms of payment and gifts to friends.
BAT (“Bon à tirer”/ “good to print”): This is the print selected by the artist and the publisher to be the image for the edition.
Cancellation: This is the final impression before the screens are washed.
CTP (Color Trial Proofs): Equivalent to trial proofs, but are not published in editions.
EP (Exhibition Proofs): These are of equal quality to the edition and are numbered EP 1, etc. These prints were created exclusively for exhibitions, which is why the number printed is typically in the single digits.
HC (“Hors Commerce” = “Not for Sale”): These are of equal quality to the edition and are numbered HC 1, etc. Usually given to collaborators, or as samples to show dealers and galleries.
PP (Printer’s Proof): These are of equal quality to the edition and are numbered PP 1, etc. The printer retains these to be used as a reference. Warhol paid his printer with these editions. The printer was then at his own discretion to keep the prints for himself or sell them.
TP (Trial Proofs): These are the initial prints, which are pulled during the processing of an edition and usually reveal color and/or compositional changes. Trial proofs are the most rare as each print is compositionally, one of a kind.