While the Campbell’s Soup can may have made Andy Warhol a household name, it wasn’t the Pop artist’s first stab at the culinary arts.
A rare self-published cookbook by Warhol, one of 34 color copies made, is heading for auction this month at Bonhams. The copy to be offered at Bonhams was signed by Warhol for the fashion editor DD Ryan, and is being sold with an estimate of $30,000–$50,000.
In 1959, Warhol, then working in relative anonymity as a graphic designer, collaborated on the project with his friend interior decorator Suzie Frankfurt, who wrote the text, and his mother, who added calligraphy with deliberate misspellings. Titled Wild Raspberries (after Ingmar Bergman’s film Wild Strawberries), it satirizes cookbooks of the 1950s, which were intended to help readers make French-inspired “haute” cuisine. Warhol’s invented dishes included “Omelet Greta Garbo,” which should “always to be eaten alone in a candlelit room”; “Gefilte of Fighting Fish”; and “Seared Roebuck,” or “roebuck shot in ambush infinitely better than roebuck killed after a chase.”
Schoolboys were paid to color the pages, which were then brought to rabbis on the Lower East Side for binding. “We thought it would be a masterpiece and we’d sell thousands. I think we sold 20,” Frankfurt told the Observer in 1997. The two ended up giving away most of the copies as gifts to friends.
“The books perfectly capture the puckish nature of much of Warhol’s work,” Darren Sutherland, a specialist in Bonhams’s books and manuscripts department, told the Guardian this week. “[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…. They are a wonderful glimpse into a playfulness that follows him throughout his development as an artist.”