Wednesday, January 02, 2019

The never-ending porridge bowl of Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol began his art career as a commercial artist. He was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and left for New York in the fifties. He did what commercial artists do, draw commercial products, like shoes for department stores. It wasn’t until 1961 that Warhol became known to the public with his paintings of Campbell soup cans. They reached the public’s imagination, and his status in American pop culture and the arts grew.

One of his pre-legend jobs was illustrating a fairy tale for a children’s book series, Best in Children’s Books, in 1959. “The Magic Porridge Pot” was done in a quasi-child’s art style, and in my opinion isn’t recognizable as Warhol’s, if you go only on his style after fame set in. I found a copy of the book in a thrift store. Unlike other contents of the volume of the series it appeared in, the story was done specifically for the book. It is not a reprint of a book from another publisher, which is how the rest of the volume is composed. As far as I have been able to ascertain, it is the one-and-only publication of the story.

I have no idea whether this is valuable in a dollar sense or not...probably not. It is mostly interesting for me as a bit of early work from an artist who is still in the public mind.

Copyright ©1959 Nelson Doubleday, Inc., Garden City, New York

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