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The Definitive Warhol:

The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 1

Imagine having to account for the complete works of Andy Warhol. That's the massive job of the editors responsible for the artist's catalogue raisonné, whose first volume was recently released by Phaidon Press.

The point of a catalogue raisonné is to document chronologically every piece an artist has created. When finished, the catalogue becomes the complete opus of an artist's work. In the case of Andy Warhol (1928-1987), whose output was prodigious, the task is daunting. 

The original plan for the Andy Warhol catalogue was to cover in one volume the artist's work from the 1960s. "As we collected information we realized it would just be too enormous. There would be so much in the book you wouldn't be able to lift it," said Sally King-Nero, a curator at the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York and research and editorial associate for Volume 1.

What editors Georg Frei and Neil Printz decided to do was break off just before Warhol moved into a new studio. As a result, The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 1, includes paintings and sculpture from 1961 to 1963. "The next volume will be the Factory years, when Warhol began working in a different manner," said King-Nero. "Volume 1 weighs eight pounds. The second book will have twice as much," she said.

Included in the first book are the Campbell's Soup paintings, early self-portraits, and images of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Elvis Presley. Pictured in its 512 pages are 680 works reproduced in color and 130 in black & white. The price is $250.

According to King-Nero, a catalogue raisonné is mainly a reference book, useful to scholars and dealers. "But there's much more of a mass interest in Warhol," she said.

"There's a tremendous amount of interest," agreed Amanda Mendoza, director of publicity for Phaidon Press. "It's the most asked about book for the spring season," she said. Mendoza described Volume 1 as accessible and exciting with extraordinary printing. Each catalogue entry will include the work's title, date, mediums, present owner (when allowed), followed by inscriptions, provenance, exhibitions, and literature. Source material that inspired the artist will also be listed.

The idea for the catalogue raisonné started in 1977 when Thomas Ammann, Andy Warhol's Swiss dealer, received permission from the artist to begin work on the project. Eventually Ammann hired Georg Frei, a Swiss art critic and curator, who began research 15 years ago. Ammann died in 1991 and in 1993 Frei approached the Andy Warhol Foundation, which became a partner in the undertaking. King-Nero expects to be executive editor for the second volume and Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum is currently negotiating for an expanded role. It is anticipated that Warhol's catalogue raisonné will comprise six volumes. "But that could change," King-Nero said.

To complete Volume 1, the editorial team looked at every Warhol they could find, with Frei mainly in Europe and King-Nero and Printz (a professor of art history at Caldwell College in New Jersey and the editor of the Isamu Noguchi catalogue raisonné) in the United States. "Things have come out of the woodwork," King-Nero said. "Andy gave so many things away and its not like he kept records. We've made discoveries and things we knew existed have turned up." King-Nero notes that rigorous standards of verification have been practiced, including reviews by the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board, which meets three times a year.

In addition to the value of the catalogue raisonné as a record, King-Nero made a further discovery in amassing documentation of Warhol's early output. "There's always been this idea that anybody could do his work, but when you look at it, you see his hand is in there. There's a lot more hand painting than people realize. He worked the paintings, it's very physical. You have to admit it's very singular."

To take a peek at The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 1, visit  You can buy the book at The Warhol Store.

Happy Anniversary!                                                  

The Warhol turns 8 years old this May! Pop Programs help you celebrate with us    

Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum opened its doors in May of 1994.  Since then its audience, programming, and reputation have steadily grown.

Good Fridays continue throughout the month with free gallery admission, a cash bar, and special programs every Friday from 5 to 10 p.m.

Sunday, June 23: Two special exhibitions open-- The LP Show and Off Guard: The Photographs of Ron Galella. The LP Show will feature more than 2,500 album covers from 1940 to the present. Off Guard: The Photographs of Ron Galella is the first retrospective of this infamous paparazzi’s work.





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