Wild Raspberries was produced with the help of Warhol's mother Julia, who provided the calligraphy – deliberately including misspellings to add to the air of subversion. The books were colored by hand by four schoolboys who lived upstairs from Warhol, though they managed to complete only 34 of them. The copy in the sale is nearly completed colored.
Bonhams Books and Manuscripts specialist in New York, Darren Sutherland, said: “These self-published books from the early 1950s shed a fascinating light on the mind and artistic practice of Andy Warhol in the years before he became a gallery artist and later, of course, one of the most recognized figures in the world. The books were mainly intended as whimsical gifts for friends and clients, but they perfectly encapsulate all the playfulness and love of graphic design which characterized Warhol’s work as a commercial artist and which he later incorporated into his mature work.”
Other books illustrated by Warhol in the sale include:
- 25 Cats Name[d] Sam and One Blue Pussy by Andy Warhol. New York: Printed by Seymour Berlin, 1954. Warhol’s most important early artist book, this is number 110 of 190 copies (though it is thought only 150 copies were printed), signed by Warhol on colophon. It comes with a signed letter from Warhol (Andy Warhol Enterprises) inquiring as to how the purchaser, a department store in Salt Lake City, learned of the book's publication... presumably because Warhol's books from this period were typically given as personal gifts by Warhol. Estimate: US$60,000-80,000.
- Love is a Pink Cake by Andy Warhol and Ralph Thomas Ward (“Corkie”). [New York: Self-published, 1953]. A rare, signed copy with two manuscript additions of Warhol’s first book which was privately printed in an edition of approximately 100 copies. Featuring pairs of star-crossed lovers, the book reflects his relationship with "Corkie" Ward, with whom he collaborated on four books in 1952-1953, only two of which were printed. Love is a Pink Cake stands out as it reproduces all the original drawings without any of the tracings and blotted line drawings found in later works. Estimate: US$8,000-12,000.
- A is an Alphabet by Andy Warhol and Ralph Thomas Ward (“Corkie”). New York: Self-published, 1957. Warhol's early self-produced alphabet, signed numerous times, including as "Andrew Morningstar," a name he tried out on handful of works during the period. Along with Love is a Pink Cake, A is an Alphabet is the earliest of the graphic portfolios Warhol produced for promotional purposes in the early 50s. US$8,000-12,000.