An Ultra-Rare Satirical Cookbook Created by a Young Andy Warhol to Poke Fun at Haute Cuisine Is Hitting the Auction Block
The cookbook features calligraphy by the Pop art great's mother.
What do you get the home chef who has everything?
A rare copy of Andy Warhol’s self-published parody cookbook, Wild Raspberries (1959), of course! The volume is hitting the auction block at Bonhams New York in an online sale launching March 22. It is expected to fetch $30,000 to $50,000.
The whimsical book was a collaboration with interior decorator Suzie Frankfurt, who wrote the ridiculous recipes, and the artist’s mother, Julia Warhola, who provided the calligraphy, replete with charming misspellings.
The was the last of a number of books Warhol designed in the 1950s, before he shot to fame in 1962 with Pop art compositions featuring Campbell’s soup and Coca-Cola. Book design offered him a valuable creative outlet during the years he worked as a commercial illustrator.
Wild Raspberries skewers haute cuisine trends—often with a pop culture twist.
There’s “Omlet Greta Garbo,” “always to be eaten alone in a candlelit room.” There’s “Gefilte of Fighting Fish,” which calls on the would-be cook to “immerse them in sea water and allow them to do battle until they completely bone each other. Take the fillets, stir in white wine and serve slightly chilled.” In a recipe for “Seared Roebuck,” the author notes that “roebuck shot in ambush is infinitely better than roebuck killed after a chase.”
The manuscript contains 18 offset lithographs, printed by Seymour Berlin, hand-colored by four schoolboys who lived upstairs from Warhol, and bound by rabbis. Only 34 copies were produced.
“The books perfectly capture the puckish nature of much of Warhol’s work,” Bonhams’s Darren Sutherland told the Guardian. “[They] were done in the spirit of fun, with a bit of self-promotion, and often given as Christmas gifts to friends and his graphic design clients. A few sold through his favorite ice cream shop, Serendipity, which moonlighted as an art gallery.”
Serendipity was actually how Warhol and Frankfurt met; she tracked him down after admiring one his paintings hanging in the restaurant. They named their cookbook in homage to Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film Wild Strawberries.
“It’s really beautiful… but it’s a little dippy,” Frankfurt told the Observer in 1997, at the time of the book’s republication. She described it as “a funny cookbook for people who don’t cook.”
The copy currently for sale is inscribed to D.D. Ryan, who Bonhams describes as a “fashion icon” and a “a raconteuse, well-dressed, and a New York fixture in the circles of Richard Avedon, Halston, Cole Porter, and Andy Warhol.”
A photo editor at Harper’s Bazaar under Diana Vreeland, Ryan was instrumental in the publication of Kay Thompson’s children’s classic Eloise and encouraged the author to turn the character into a book.
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