Andy Warhol, Book from His First Retrospective (1970)
Coplans, John. Andy Warhol. First English Edition. 1970. Book and dust jacket are both in very good condition. Contributions by Jonas Mekas and Calvin Tomkins.
Andy Warhol is remembered as the quintessential New York artist, even though that city, the center of the mid-20th Century art world, had stymied his hopes of making it big. There, he was seen as a commercial artist. His ascent to legitimacy began in Los Angeles in 1961 at the legendary Ferus Gallery (half a block outside West Hollywood), operated by Walter Hopps and Irving Blum. They saw in Warhol what the Abstract Expressionists in New York missed. Blum ultimately bought the complete set of soup can paintings and hung them in his modest Fountain Avenue apartment (they’re now part of MOMA’s permanent collection). Hopps continued to champion Warhol. During his tenure as director of the Pasadena Museum of Art (now the Norton Simon Museum), he gave Warhol his first retrospective, for which this book was published. The book includes eighteen pages in color and over one hundred illustrations in black and white. This is an exceptionally well-preserved copy of an uncommon book.
“The openness of the Los Angeles scene, combined with the natural marriage (if such a term may be used in this context) of Hollywood and the pop environment so definitive of the area has provoked a deep interest from the art audience in … Warhol as well as in pop art in general. Warhol’s first exhibition of 32 canvases of Campbell’s soup cans was organized by Irving Blum at the Ferus Gallery…. Only later that year (and primarily as a consequence of this exhibition) was Warhol’s work exhibited in New York.”