On October 11th, publishers Thames and Hudson released the never-before-published drawings of Andy Warhol in his children’s book, “The Autobiography of a Snake” from 1963, with contributions from Teddy and Arthur Edelman who provided Warhol his first job in New York. The snake, believed by many to resemble Warhol himself, transforms into different articles of clothing belonging to celebrities. When we think about Warhol, there is a strong parallel to the stylish snake we are seeing in the book as he surrounds himself with a glittering and vibrant group of celebrities. In the snake’s journey to bring “chicness” to the women who needed him he transforms into Jackie Kennedy’s boots, Coco Chanel’s blouse, and the curtains for the Folies Begere.
These drawings allow us to see Warhol’s early obsession with fame and celebrity before the majority of his career takes off. New York Magazine provided exclusive images of the brightly colored story along with a reminder of why Warhol was so inclined to draw as a child. “The book’s playful aesthetic evokes an earlier time in Warhol’s own childhood, when he was diagnosed with the neural disorder Sydenham’s chorea as a third-grader. The condition often locked him in bed, so he drew, forming a basis for illustrations that earned him fame years later in the 1950s.”
We often forget that much of the bright and beautiful work made by Warhol comes from this place of sadness and discomfort, but are enlightened by the enormous success he achieved. Flipping through the pages, one feels Warhol’s presence, making it a valuable part of his catalogue and your collection.