At Williams College, A ‘Gold Book’ by Andy Warhol Has Roots in Earlier Treasures

THE DAILY PIC: In '57, Warhol prints on gilt because he'd seen it done before.


THE DAILY PIC (#1357): The above image is one page from Andy Warhol’s Gold Book, a self-published promotional volume that Warhol put out in 1957, with his fey, photo-based drawings offset-printed onto gold paper.

The image below is an invitation, offset-printed onto gold paper, for a show of Eugene Atget’s photography that was held at Pittsburgh’s wonderful, avant-garde Outlines gallery exactly a decade earlier, when Warhol was studying art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and was a regular visitor to Outlines.

outlines gold page

The Gold Book is now on display in a show called “Warhol by the Book” at the William’s College Museum of Art, where, as it happens, I’ll be chatting with Warhol book scholar Nina Schleif tomorrow afternoon.

One of the things I hope to bring up is Warhol’s amazing talent as a sponge, forever recycling old ideas and stimuli into his latest projects. Another is the role of outsider art, more admired and better-known in Pittsburgh than most places, as a major unacknowledged influence on Warhol’s art – with Atget, and arguably all of the non-art photography that Warhol used as his sources, once counting as outsiderism.

A final thought: Did any gay-themed art also, at that time, have a touch of the outsider to it, and was Warhol running with that? (Gold Book image ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Outlines image courtesy the estate of Betty Rockwell)

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