Andy Warhol

25 Cats Name[d] Sam and One Blue Pussy

Ca. 1954

Medium: Bound book with 18 pages (including colophon page); 17 plates hand-colored offset lithographs

Sheet size: 9 x 5 7/8 inches, each

Edition size: 190, as indicated on colophon (the printer, Seymour Berlin, claims only 150 were made)

Signed and numbered in pen on the colophon by the artist

Lettering by Warhol’s mother, Julia Warhola

Cover plate, hand-colored offset lithograph pasted onto white buckram board. The cover reads “25 Cats name[d] Sam and one Blue Pussy By Andy Warhol”

Inscribed “Cipe” on cover in black ink.

The colophon text reads “This edition Consists of 190 Copis (sic) which have been Printed by Seymour Berlin P.I. 9.8070

This copy no __ [number written in and signed Andy Warhol in black ink] 25 Cats name[d] sam and one Blue [Pussy] was written Charles Lisanby.”

Price Upon Request



While he was working on collaborative book projects, Warhol was also self-publishing books on his own, such as the widely celebrated 25 Cats Name[d] Sam and One Blue Pussy. As the title suggests, the book features illustrations of variously sized cats, each accompanied by one word: Sam. Some of the drawings are tracings of photos from Walter Chandoha’s book All Kinds of Cats (1952). The last page of 25 Cats features the eponymous Blue Pussy, the only cat in the book not named Sam.

As Lucy Mulroney writes in Andy Warhol, Publisher (2018), the “playful repetition of Sams celebrates difference within similarity.” In this way, the book lightheartedly reflects on identity and otherness. Meanwhile, the book’s formal qualities call to mind mail order catalogues marketing different models or colors of the same product, likely an intentional connection given that Warhol would have presented this book to current or prospective commercial clients. The repetitious nature of the cat illustrations also foreshadows his later Pop art, such as his portfolios of prints of figures such as Mao or Marilyn Monroe, in which he uses different colors to print several versions of the same image. Warhol’s interest in seriality continued throughout his career.

Although 25 Cats was not a joint endeavor like A is an Alphabet or Love Is a Pink Cake, Warhol did not do away with collaboration entirely to create this book. As he did with almost all his self-published works created between 1954 and 1959, Warhol enlisted the help of friends to assist in the production, and in the case of this book, the hand-coloring. To do this, he would have held one of his coloring parties at Serendipity 3 or at his home, bringing with him dozens of copies of the offset lithograph prints that would become the book pages. He would have spread the pages and bottles of Dr. Martin’s aniline ink dyes across the table, instructing his collaborators to color at will. These dyes, which are still sold in art supply stores today, are highly saturated.

Warhol would have had his fellow painters mix the pigment with water to achieve the translucent washes seen throughout his publications from this period. Owing to this improvisational and collaborative approach to the coloring process, each copy of the book is unique. This copy of 25 Cats is particularly special as it, along with several other publications included in this catalogue, was once owned by pioneering designer and art director Cipe Pineles. Warhol had his mother inscribe Pineles’s copy by writing “Cipe” on the cover. It is clear that Warhol sought to impress Pineles with the publication, for special attention was paid to ensure that every page was hand-colored.

25 Cats also contains some mysterious incongruities that function like inside jokes, exemplifying the cheeky, campy approach Warhol took with his overall publishing practice. For example, his mother misspelled “Named” on the cover, writing “Name,” instead, and Warhol did not correct it. The title also declares that the book contains 25 cats in addition to the Blue Pussy, when in fact there are only 17. Furthermore, the colophon attributes the book text to Charles Lisanby, but the only words in the book are “Sam” and “One Blue Pussy.” In reality, Lisanby had simply come up with the title. 25 Cats thus serves not just as a key example of his hand-colored publications from this period, but also the ways in which Warhol investigated and communicated sincere ideas through humorous publication projects.