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Is it Real? The Telling Details That Distinguish an Authentic Warhol from a Counterfeit


This self-portrait was at the center of controversy after it was rejected by the Authentication Board in 2011.

While the screenprinting process Andy Warhol employed is rather difficult, time consuming and expensive to reproduce, there are times in which a forged Andy Warhol print or canvas will pop up. Some of Warhol’s art has been authenticated either by proof of provenance or through approval of the Warhol Authentication Board, there are over 100,000 Warhol pieces in circulation, a large portion of which have not been authenticated by the board.

Although the Warhol Authentication Board is no longer a surefire source to confirm whether a print is an Andy Warhol original or not, there are certain aesthetic, compositional and physical qualities that can distinguish authentic Warhol pieces from forgeries. Some identifying elements to take into consideration when analyzing a Warhol print whose authentication is uncertain include the placement of his signature, the size of the print, the ink used, the paper type, any markings or stamps, and the date in which the print was created.

For example, if there is a Liz Taylor print that is signed as being created in 1970 and is on a large sheet of paper (40” x 40”), it most likely is not an authentic Warhol for two reasons: his Liz Taylor prints were created early in his career (in 1964), because of this, he did not yet experiment with screenprinting on large scale mediums.

Another telling sign is the style of Warhol’s signature on the piece. As Warhol’s art evolved over the years, so did his the way in which he signed (or stamped) his work. Depending on the time in which the print was created, Warhol’s signature varied from cursive and print, to initials and stamps. Even the most tenacious attempts to protect a screenprint cannot prevent a signature from fading, so if the signature is too crisp looking, it could signify a forgery.

The edition of the print is also an important factor when identifying an authentic Warhol. It could be that the print in question claims to be a trial proof edition, but there is an authenticated, recorded trial proof with the exact coloring and composition. Trial proofs are notable in that each proof is the only one of its kind, compositionally. There can be no two trial proofs alike, as trial proof editions were only printed once.

These minor details can amount to the difference between having an original Warhol masterpiece or the product of a scheming forger. Although there has been skepticism regarding Warhol authentication after the discontinuation of the Warhol Authentication Board, signature style, edition type, color composition and paper type are a few details that can identify an authentic Warhol.


The evolution of Warhol’s signature over the years.
Photos: Art Signature Dictionary

Merry Christmas! The Festive Andy Warhol and Truman Capote Magazine Cover

“Christmas is when you have to go to the bank and get crisp money to put in envelopes from the stationery store for tips. After you tip the doorman, he goes on sick leave or quits …” – Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol and Truman Capote were featured on the December 1978 Christmas issue of High Times, Warhol dressed as Santa Claus and Truman as.. (according to Warhol) “a little girl.”

Warhol wrote about the day of the photoshoot (September 26, 1978):

“[Toni, from High Times] had a Santa costume for me and a little girl outfit for Truman. But Truman wasn’t in the mood to go into drag, he said that he was already dressed like a little boy. Truman was really drunk, hugging around.” (from The Andy Warhol Diaries)


When Warhol first arrived to New York City, he had an unusual obsession for writer, Truman Capote. The obsession was so extreme that at one point, Warhol had called him so frequently that Capote’s mother had to intervene and tell Warhol to stop calling.

Capote’s first impressions of the artist: “When he was a child, Andy Warhol had this obsession about me and used to write me from Pittsburgh… When he came to New York, he used to stand outside my house, just stand out there all day waiting for me to come out. He wanted to become a friend of mine, wanted to speak to me, to talk to me. He nearly drove me crazy.”

Ultimately, as Warhol rose to superstardom, Capote no longer looked at Warhol as an unfortunate young man who had become a borderline stalker, but as an artist whose talent and unique perspective on life made the obsession more flattering than anything. The 1978 cover of the two fondly embracing each other is both heartwarming and telling of how much fame and accolades can transform the opinion of almost anyone… a concept of which Warhol was well aware.

Merry Christmas from Truman Capote and Andy Warhol!


The Power Behind Andy Warhol’s Flowers

Andy Warhol was a flower child in his own right, known for saying, “I think everybody should like everybody,” But then again, as much as he instilled love and peace, he also had a morbid fascination with death, destruction and devastation. Warhol found beauty in the ugly (evident in his Death and Disaster series), but also found depth and darkness in seemingly beautiful things, which can be seen by looking closer at his Flowers series.

Andy Warhol’s Flowers series is a portfolio of ten screenprints based off of photographs taken by Patricia Caulfield, which were featured in the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography magazine. While the flowers originate from realistic photographs (as did the majority of his images), Warhol altered his versions of the flowers, by flattening and cropping the flowers and adding vibrant, contrasting colors.

Caulfield saw the initial prints and took legal action against Warhol. Warhol offered her a couple of prints in hopes of settling the dispute, but she denied the offer. They settled and in 1964 Warhol went on to exhibit his Flowers at the prominent Leo Castelli Gallery. In 1970, Warhol produced his Flowers portfolio, which is comprised of 10 prints, all with varying compositions.

warhol flowers

Flowers (1970) – Andy Warhol

While flowers typically produce pleasant, light-hearted associations, it has been said that Warhol’s flowers were subversive and more “menacing” than previous conceptions. His longtime assistant elucidated on Warhol’s Flowers as representing the more gritty aspects of the flower power movement, saying:

“When Warhol and that whole scene made Flowers, it reflected the urban, dark, death side of that whole (Flower Power) movement. And as decorative art, it’s pretty dense. There is a lot of depth in there.”

As he did in creating his prints and paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe, Warhol has taken a rather innocuous image and has appropriated alternate associations, that are invited because of how familiar the subject is. While these flowers are bright and sunny, they are set against a dark and ambiguous backdrop, suggesting that the beauty of the flowers is not all that Warhol was aiming for.

The idea of the flower as being something beautiful, but whose beauty is ephemeral, is a theme to contemplate when viewing this commanding images of delicate flowers. As with Warhol himself, there is much more to be said about his flowers beyond their facades.

A Rare “Brush” With Tradition: Andy Warhol’s Paintings

Andy Warhol was known for his screenprinting technique, but also experimented with the more traditional approach of painting on canvas. Warhol’s paintings are some of the most expensive works on the market (See last week’s post), as there are very few of them in existence.

Before he became well known for venturing into the celebrities faces that are now synonymous with his prints, Andy Warhol occupied the world of advertising. Many of these advertisements that Warhol designed for women’s fashion magazines were hand drawn and painted in his unique “blotted line” technique.

It was in his capacity as an advertising illustrator, where Andy Warhol developed his unique blotted line prints. In creating these images, Warhol would hand-press a newly drawn out design onto an absorbent piece of paper, transferring the image onto the new piece of paper. By re-inking the original drawing after the transfer, he was able to create similar images that were not exactly like the others; this was a telling precursor to his experimentation with the screenprinting process.

Even with a hand-drawn image, Warhol could create a multitude of artwork out of a single image. Many of Warhol’s paintings were created before his discovery of the screenprinting process– the discovery that would change the way he created his art for the rest of his life.

warhol's paintings inkblot

One of Warhol’s “ink-blot” drawings from the 1950’s.

Warhol’s turn to silkscreening came from his obsession with efficiency, a desire to become a machine, to become his own factory. Whereas Warhol’s paintings could only be produced one at a time, screenprinting enabled him to create hundreds of prints from a single image.

Because of Warhol’s love affair with the screenprinting process, his paintings are especially rare. However, before mastering this printing technique with the use of his famed polaroids and paper, Warhol’s paintings were used when he first tested out the silkscreening technique. In one of his most popular methods, acrylic paint would be used to apply colors to the negatives that would be later screened.

Warhol’s paintings are one of a kind irreproducible editions. They are characterized by thick lines, unevenly distributed paint and a unique color scheme; all of which are details that expose the interference of the artist’s touch. Interesting was Warhol’s decision to use industrial paints for his paintings rather than art supplies. These works were also painted with the use of his fingers instead of actual paintbrushes.

Warhol’s shift to silkscreening correlates with his revelation that large scale repetition was the swiftest way to impact a consumerist society. He displaced the tradition of hand-painting images on canvas, with the truly modern art of reproduction. Editions were made in various sizes, colors and compositions. In this way, Warhol’s art became attainable to every consumer.

As Warhol so famously elucidated on this idea of mass consumerism:
“Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”

The Background Story to Warhol’s Earliest Works of Elvis Presley

There is a lot of talk stirring up the art world in anticipation for the upcoming sales of two Andy Warhol paintings, estimated to be worth up to $130 million for both. One of the paintings is Warhol’s, Triple Elvis (Ferus Type) , which features the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley. The high value of this painting in particular can be attributed to the painting’s large dimensions, Warhol’s rare use of painting on canvas, and of course, the magnificent star power of the the painting’s subject and author.

Elvis Presley was one of Warhol’s earliest subjects, one in which he revisited several times throughout his career. In 1963, Warhol developed a twenty two piece series called Elvis for a solo show at The Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. He had been gaining momentum in his career after his Campbell’s Soup Cans show at the same gallery the year before.

The image used was one taken from a publicity still from the 1960’s film Flaming Star. In this photo, Elvis Presley is dressed as a cowboy with gun drawn, rather than the usual guitar in hand, revealing Warhol’s intent to depict Elvis as an actor, rather than to portray him as a musician.

Elvis Presley by Andy Warhol

Photo: Christie’s

This distinct choice to have a black image on a silver long strip could possibly be mimicking a film strip or “The silver screen”. Once all the images had been printed, he shipped the whole canvas along with a few different sized stretcher bars to Irving Blum in Los Angeles who cut the canvas and matched the images to the appropriate stretcher bars.

His only request be that the pieces would be placed directly next to each other, continuing with his repetitive style that had become his trademark. One critic said of this style:

“Toe to toe, repeated atop one another, poor Elvis becomes as thin and hazy as the idyllic illusion he publicly symbolizes; the assembly line produces the emptiness and sterility of soulless, over-managed puppetry.”

It is enticing to consider the critic’s analysis of Warhol’s Elvis as a comment that is equally applicable to Warhol’s persona. Paralleled are the stories and personas of two of Elvis Presley (“The King of Rock and Roll”) and Andy Warhol (“The Pope of Pop (Art)” two of the most significant pop culture icons of the twentieth century.

Andy Warhol and the Art of Appropriation

Andy Warhol is known for his stylization of imagery derived from brands, logos, pictures and newspaper articles, reflecting the popular culture of the time. He re-stylized ready-made images (usually with repetition or the addition of colors) to transform them into works of his own. This process is referred to as appropriation, a practice that was not foreign to the art world but became much more complex at the onset of Warhol’s artistic career.

While appropriation in art has been around for ages, it began to gain popularity in the 20th century. Most notably with “Dada” artists like Marcel Duchamp, who championed the art of the “ready mades”. Andy Warhol continued the tradition of appropriation, but the times were changing, and borrowing images to create new ones became more controversial with the onset of consumerism.

Towards the mid twentieth century, mass production made branding a necessity for companies who were now competing against each other for business. Once a brand was born, it needed to be protected so that the no one else could profit from the idea. Copyright, or legal ownership of artistic material (in this case), suddenly made the art of appropriation a lot more complicated.

Andy Warhol and Appropriation

Mass Appropriation: Banksy’s appropriation of Andy Warhol’s appropriation of a Marilyn Monroe photograph.

In 1962, Andy Warhol created his famous Marilyn series, based off of a publicity shot for her 1953 film, Niagra. While he transformed the image by transferring it onto screenprints and canvases, the image used as a stencil was not legally his. He owned the rights to his artwork, but not to the image that the art was dependent on.

Similarly, he “borrowed” the logo from Campbell’s Soup cans, but repurposed it by applying it to canvases and screenprints. Wary at first about the blatant use of their classic logo, the company soon realized that the free publicity was rewarding. In fact, to show Warhol the company’s gratitude, the marketing manager sent Warhol some of their famous products with the note: “I have since learned that you like Tomato Soup so I am taking the liberty of having a couple cases of our Tomato Soup delivered to you”.

Andy Warhol was not so fortunate after he created his Flowers series. In 1966, he became the subject of a lawsuit brought on by photographer, Patricia Caufield for the use of her photos of hibiscus flowers. The suit was settled out of court, but as a result Warhol decided that he would rather use his own images when he could, which inadvertently launched him into experimenting with a new medium — photography.

His longtime assistant, Gerard Malanga, said after the lawsuit, “Andy realized that he had to be very careful about appropriating for the fear of being sued again. He opted to start taking his own photographs. His entry into photography vis a vis his creation of silkscreen paintings was done out of necessity.”

With this in mind, maybe Andy Warhol’s famous quote about art being “what you can get away with” really meant “art is what you can get away with(out being sued)”.

Andy’s Legacy Continues: The Andy Warhol Foundation

Andy Warhol’s influence and legacy has impacted modern and contemporary art on a larger scale than one could ever imagine. During his lifetime he was an influential artist that changed the course of modern art and his final will was to continue doing so with the establishment of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Foundation’s role is one that supports emerging artists, while supporting “organizations that fight censorship, protect artists’ rights and defend their access to evolving technology”. The foundation is instrumental in providing grants and other forms of support to foster these artistic endeavors, so that artists who continue to push cultural and artistic boundaries (as Warhol did), can triumph.

The Andy Warhol museum located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania is another extension of the Andy Warhol Foundation`s efforts to preserve Andy`s influential role as a modern art innovator. The museum, which serves as the most comprehensive single artist museum in the world, contains an extensive collection of Warhol’s films, prints, canvases and photos.

Andy would be happy to know that his legacy lives on through The Andy Warhol Foundation and his success has paved the way for artists after him to pick up where he left off. In this way, Andy Warhol has truly captivated us for far longer than 15 minutes.

Trial Proofs – The Most Original Warhol Pieces You Could Ever Have

As many collectors know, some of Warhol’s prints are more valuable than others. The value of a piece all depends on many aspects, such as the color, subject, and edition. The edition is especially of importance, as Warhol’s trial proof prints are often worth more because each print is one of a kind.

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 editions.

The trial proof print is especially notable, as it each given trial proof print is the only one with its particular color combination and/or composition. There can be no two trial proofs alike, since trial proof editions were only printed once.

Another type of print that resulted from this process of selection is the printer’s proof. They are similar to the artist’s proofs in that they were used as a form of payment, but the printer was the only recipient of that particular edition.

Before finalizing an edition, Warhol would review a small number of trial proofs to decide which one would be selected as THE editioned print. The trial proof print is especially valuable, as it is the only one with its particular color combination and/or composition.

Revolver has two exquisite trial proof prints from Andy Warhol’s 1983 series “Ingrid Bergman: With Hat”. These prints illustrate the distinct color and formatting compositions that can arise from a single image.

Ingrid Bergman Trial Proof

Ingrid Bergman Trial Proof

Another favorite of ours is the trial proof of Howdy Doody, from Warhol’s 1981 Myths portfolio. This print is based on a photograph of the original Howdy Doody, a character from a 1950’s television series. Most of the trial proofs, including this one, have diamond dust.

Howdy Doody Trial Proof (FS IIB263) - Andy Warhol

New to our gallery is this trial proof of Warhol’s 1982 Alexander The Great. This print stands apart from the other 64 trial proofs of this print with its unique color composition. Warhol used two colors, black and yellow, as the background instead of just one as he did for other proofs.

Alexander the Great Trial Proof

While any given work of art by Andy Warhol is a treasure to behold, the purpose of creation, edition size and color composition greatly influences the market value of a Warhol print. With this in mind, it is no wonder that Warhol’s trial proof prints are some of his most valuable and sought-after works of art.

Andy Warhol: The Reigning King of Pop Art

"You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too." -  Andy Warhol “You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too.” – Andy Warhol

Whether they were prosaic objects from day to day life or celebrities whose images were splashed across the tabloids, American symbols and items of consumption served as Warhol’s artistic muses. Warhol begun to translate this fascination with pop culture into art in the early 1960’s, a period of time where advertisements began to inundate every street corner and television screen. He was particularly interested in the Coca-Cola logo, a symbol that continues to be one of the most recognized symbols in the world.

From the 1950’s as an advertisement illustrator to the 1980’s as a full blown pop artist, Warhol catered to mass culture, making art recognizable to all walks of society— from the middle class and unknown to the rich and famous. Warhol considered these symbols as ultimate equalizers, which were created and distributed in America, the only country “where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.” Andy re-formulated mundane symbols into world-class icons, creating works of art that would eventually sell for millions, making him the “King of Pop Art” or in this case, the “King of (Soda) Pop”.

The intrinsic and commercial value of Warhol’s creations became startling evident in 1988, when his 210 Coca-Cola Bottles was estimated to be sold at Sotheby’s in New York for anywhere between $700,000 and $900,000, but instead sold for $1.4 million. This was a year after Warhol’s death and only the beginning of many record breaking sales to come.

Since 1988, the market for a Warhol original painting has increased dramatically. In November 2013, Warhol’s 1962 Coca-Cola (3) sold for $57 million, a symbol that has clearly not gone out of style. The classic Coca Cola logo of the elegant Loki Cola font set against a vibrant red background is an unmistakable symbol of one of the most popular carbonated beverages in the world, a valiant effort put forth by the marketing of the Coca Cola company. But its elevated prestige as something to be considered valuable enough to hang upon one’s wall as a work of high art is of none other than Warhol. Without Warhol, the Coca Cola logo would be restricted to cans, bottles and billboards.

Here at Revolver Gallery we honor the classics and pay homage to the brilliant inner workings of Pop Rockstar, Andy Warhol. Stop by at 9459 Charleville Blvd. off S Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills 90212 Tues-Sat 10am to 3pm to observe the genius of the ultimate “King of Pop Art”.

The Warhol Art Market

An Index of Warhol Art's Increasing Rate of Return -

An Index of Warhol Art’s Increasing Rate of Return –

Andy Warhol is one of the few artists who has eschewed the traditional “starving artist” complex, achieving great commercial success throughout his lifetime. He was very candid with his love affair with money, famously stating, “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Even from the time that Warhol was working as a commercial illustrator before his career as an independent fine artist, he was rewarded for his artistic virtuoso. While Warhol was a huge success throughout his artistic career — at one point receiving $25,000 per commissioned portrait — the commercial value of his art has only continued to rise.

An analysis of the trends in the Warhol art market of how his prints and paintings have sold throughout the years is indicative of how they are some of the most valuable pieces to collect and sell. In 1998, one of Warhol’s Marilyn’s sold for $332,500 and in only a little more than a decade’s time, that same painting was sold for $3.746 million dollars. Warhol’s gold Marilyn was sold to architect Phillip Johnson in 1964 for $2,000, which was then donated to MoMA. If that painting were to be sold now, it is estimated to bring in up to $60 million.

Since Warhol art market sales reached its peak in 2007, there has been no significant decline in the demand for his work, only a steady increase. In 2011, Warhol was third in the global ranking for revenue of art sold for the year. The sales of his work amounted to $325 million, passing Pablo Picasso, a steady fixture in the top 3 of the list. In 2012, Warhol claimed the title as the “world’s biggest seller at an auction” resulting from the $37 million dollar sale of his Double Elvis and his Statue of Liberty, which sold for $43.7 million. But Warhol’s current record was set by the 2013 sale of Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) through Sotheby’s, for a cool $105.4 million.

Trends reveals that there continues to be a high demand for Andy Warhol’s work, evident from the record-breaking sales that have occurred within the past three years alone. One does not have to be an expert financier to comprehend how massive the return is for a Warhol investment.

About Andy Warhol


Andy Warhol is best described as a “mirror of his age.” He built his career on appropriation of famous imagery and products, fostering of personal celebrity, and his contributions to the Pop Art movement. Through his screenprints, paintings, writing and film, Warhol challenged the American public to reevaluate the meaning of art in a post-war consumer culture. His art and philosophy are intrinsically tied to American culture. Over a span of more than three decades, Andy Warhol crafted a body of work still celebrated today, more than 25 years after his death.

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on August 6th, 1928 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were Czechoslovakian immigrants, and he was the youngest of three children. As a child, Andy was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Sydenham Chorea, which would leave him bedridden. It was during this time he focused on drawing, finding inspiration from popular magazines and comic books. His youth was lackluster with an absence of glamor, leading to his inevitable fascination with fame, celebrity culture, consumerism and money.

After completing a degree in Pictorial Design from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now named Carnegie Mellon University) in 1949, Warhol moved to New York to pursue a career as a commercial artist. He quickly gained a range of top clients from Harper’s Bazaar to Tiffany & Co., and was able to display his art in the windows of department stores, such as the famous I. Miller. In the early fifties, he turned to producing his own artwork influenced by his past experience as a commercial illustrator. Initially, Warhol started with paintings and drawings, but gradually started to incorporate photo-based techniques and screenprinting processes which were much more industrial. Advertising techniques were a great vehicle that Warhol would use to communicate with his audience because it was a language that everyone could understand. He started incorporating images of everyday American consumer life into his artwork. It was in 1956 that the Museum of Modern Art noticed and included him in his first major group show.

The 1960s saw an explosion in the Pop Art movement, and Andy Warhol became known as one of the key players. Andy Warhol, like other pop artists at that time, took mundane everyday objects and made them into art. The idea behind Pop Art was to provoke viewers to reevaluate these everyday objects and what they meant to our culture. Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as news or advertising. It was a radical and shocking approach to art making that Warhol embraced, turning advertising, promotion, packaging, consumerism and processing into economic entities. It was during this period he produced some of his most iconic works, which combined his fascination with all things glamor and celebrity with his love affair with commercial production. It was in the 60s and early 70s that Andy Warhol produced some of his best known works, like the Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s Soup Cans and Coca-Cola Bottles.

The 1970s were a quieter decade for Warhol, following his attempted murder in 1968 by feminist author Valerie Solanas. After multiple gunshot wounds and a close call with death, Andy Warhol shifted gears, spending less time in the overt public and more time making art across different platforms. This is the era when Andy Warhol branched out into other entrepreneurial ventures like the magazine he co-founded, Interview, which is still in publication today. Through the 70s and 80s, Warhol contributed film shorts to Saturday Night Live, signed with a modeling agency and designed rock album covers for bands (most notably The Rolling Stones). His artwork captured political figures, sports athletes and celebrities. His most memorable work of the time included the Mao series, Camouflage series, and Skulls series.

Warhol passed away on February 22, 1987 after the opening exhibition of The Last Supper paintings. After complaining of abdominal pain, he was scheduled for a routine gall bladder surgery in New York Hospital. He died in recovery. Behind him, Warhol left a legacy of art, film, writing and celebrity. Two years after his death, the plan to build the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh was announced, which followed the establishment of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. His influence continues to reach far and beyond the scope of painters and printmakers, inspiring today’s generation of thinkers with the contributions he made to American culture in his lifetime.

Andy Warhol – The Catalogue Raisonne


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.

Andy Warhol Screenprints – The Process and History

A Brief History of the Screenprinting Process:

The history of screenprinting dates back 1,000 years to China during the Song Dynasty. It was the successor of stenciling, which was invented over 40,000 years ago. Both methods are some of the earliest forms of artistic expression that have heavily influenced artistic innovation throughout the history of manmade art. While some stencils can be seen scrawled on the walls of European caves, stenciling was not introduced to Europe until the late 1700’s.

It wasn’t until the 1910’s that printers started experimenting with photo-reactive chemicals such as potassium, sodium or ammonium bichromate with glues and gelatin compounds. The evolution of screenprinting developed even further when three printers, Roy Beck, Charles Peter and Edward Owens introduced photo-image stencils. With their contribution, screenprinting became more of an art form and less of an industrial product.

For most of the twentieth century, screen-printing techniques were considered, “trade secrets” and were kept confidential. It wasn’t until the 1960s, with the help of Andy Warhol, that it became a more widely recognized art form.


Andy Warhol Screenprints:

When Warhol began to experiment with screenprinting in the 1960’s, the practice was not a widely used medium. It was a lengthy process that required an exorbitant amount of patience and a keen eye for detail. It was also not unanimously understood as an art form, due to the interference of a machine, which created skepticism by many whose traditional views of art required direct contact between the artist and his choice medium.

One of Warhol’s first silkscreened images was his Marilyn print, which he based off of a photograph from Monroe’s 1953 film, Niagra. This haunting, yet magnetic image of the star, who had recently committed suicide, was a choice subject for Warhol when he began screenprinting. Warhol quickly realized that he could produce art, in a systematic manner (like an assembly line of a factory), which gave rise to the production of his series or portfolios of prints.

His first published series was of none other than Marilyn Monroe. He used the efficiency of the screenprinting technique to his advantage and created multiple versions of the same image, using a variety of different color compositions. The production of this series served as the precedent and inspired Warhol to create a multitude of different portfolios, ranging in subject matter from soup cans to fictional characters in American pop culture. As Warhol once inquired, “Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?”, which so aptly reflects his philosophy of screenprinting and his often-employed style of repetition.


Material Used Throughout the Years:

The screenprinting process is a form of stenciling, in which a stencil is placed on top of a sheet and then ink is pushed through the stencil to create an image. From the silkscreen itself, to the type of paper and ink used, the evolution of silkscreening has involved a variety of different materials that have been traded out and improved.

At first, the screen was made of silk, hence the terminology “silkscreening”, but due to the expensive price of a valuable commodity like silk, the screen was replaced with a hybrid material made of nylon and polyester. While this modern material strays from the traditional practice of using silk, the use of these synthetic, inexpensive materials allows for the screen to last longer because it does not absorb ink resins and fats, and can be reclaimed after using with photo emulsion. This new synthetic material also allows for a sharper print than with the old method of using silk.

The choice of ink used depended on the intended composition of the final piece. When Warhol applied multiple colors, each color with its own screen. The application of the colors resulted in a layering effect, in which the color applied first was transposed with each of the following colors. Because of the durability of the silkscreen stencil made, Warhol was able to use it multiple times, creating a different color composition each time. This is how the different printed editions were generated.

The component on which the ink is transferred varies depending on the artist’s intentions. Warhol used many different types of materials to project his designs, from a wide variety of paper to canvases and plexiglass. Earlier in his career, he screenprinted on canvas, but immediately begun to experiment with different kinds of paper, due to the facility and speed in which silkscreen on paper were produced.

Below is a list of a few of the different types of paper Warhol used frequently:
(From the Catalogue Raisonne)

Arches: moldmade in France,100% cotton, neutral pH, watermarked

Arches Aquarelle: moldmade in France,100% cotton, Hot Pressed, Cold Pressed, and Rough, four deckles (sheets only), watermarked, chop marked

Beckett High White: machine-made in the US, 100% cotton

Lenox Museum Board: machine-made in the US, 100% cotton, neutral pH and buffered, Cold Pressed

Rives BFK: moldmade in France, 100% cotton, neutral pH, smooth, watermarked

Strathmore Bristol Series 500: machine-made in the US, 100% cotton, chop marked

Vellum: machine-made in the US, 100% sulfite

Warhol’s Printers:

The creation of a Warhol screenprint required two major components: Warhol’s creative genius and the printer to execute the idea. Warhol published many of his prints himself under the name Andy Warhol Enterprises, Inc., but he also employed various printing studios and individual printers as the demand for his work increased. The major printing studios and printers he used were Styria Studios Inc., Alexander Heinrici, and Rupert Jasen Smith, who did the majority of his printing. Other printers he used include Salvatore Silkscreen Co., who was responsible for Warhol’s soup cans, and Aetna Silkscreen Productions, who developed his Flowers series.

Styria Studios Inc. is a New York based publishing company who printed one of Warhol’s most infamous series, Mao, in 1972. Comprised of 10 prints, this became a controversial and iconic series of work for him and put Styria Studios on the map.

Alexander Heinrici who printed his Ladies and Gentlemen and Jagger series was one of Warhol’s most trusted silkscreeners and the first individual printer he went to after using industrial publishing companies like Salvatore Silkscreen Co. and Aeta Silkscreen Products Inc. Heinrichi also printed his Flowers (Hand Colored) portfolio and Paloma Picasso. Heinrici was Warhol’s primary printer from 1974 to 1976, when he began to publish his own prints under Andy Warhol Enterprises, Inc.

In 1977, Warhol decides to employ Rupert Jasen Smith as his printer for the Hammer and Sickle series. Warhol was so pleased with his work that he allowed him to place his printer’s stamp right next to his signature on all their works together and made Smith his master printmaker and art director, which would last until Warhol’s death in 1987. Some of the works featuring his stamp are his portraits of Princess Grace of Monaco, Ingrid Bergman, Mickey Mouse and Edward Kennedy as well as the following series: Reigning Queens, Endangered Species, and Shoes. Smith was such a well-known artist in his own right that contemporary artists Larry Rivers, Keith Haring, Kenny Scarf and Francesco Scavullo also feature his stamp on works. Many claim that Warhol would have never been able to maintain the extensive production of prints without Jasen-Smith’s help.