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A book hand-made by Pop artist Andy Warhol as a gift for a young girl will be published for the first time this fall.
Rizzoli is releasing a fascimile edition of the one-of-the-kind "Making Money." Originally created by Warhol in 1981, the book features a series of his exuberant freehand drawings. An appealing "flipbook" quality emerges as the images slowly build from abstract renditions to the artist's familiar dollar sign. The backstory is another draw.
The gift-book was for Berkeley Reinhold, then a pre-teen and daughter of Warhol's close friend, diamond dealer and art collector John Reinhold, a cousin of the art-world figure Henry Geldzahler, who introduced the two.
Monetary symbols fascinated Warhol as subject matter just as the pop culture icons of the day---from Campbell Soup cans to Marilyn Monroe---captured his fancy, figuring into the Pop Art pantheon. He mused, "Big-time art is big-time money."
Beginning in 1962, he focused on the design of American paper currency with paintings and drawings of the one, two, five, and ten dollar bills. At first, critics largely panned these works. Collectors scorned the series as too crass to hang.
When President Ronald Reagan took power in the 1980s, a new era was launched. American capitalism seemed well-represented in Warhol's work. His Dollar Sign series emerged---bold, vibrant images with personality.
Famed New York art dealer Leo Castelli gave the Dollar Sign paintings an exhibition in 1982, but it wasn't until art dealer Larry Gagosian showed them at his Beverly Hills gallery in 1997 that these spirited, potent images captured the mood of the times.
In the changeable world of art and commerce, popular favor continues for Warhol's money-centric work. Christie's sold a Dollar Sign for $3,901,790 in 2007. Last fall Sotheby’s hammered down his 1962 “200 One Dollar Bills,” which had a high estimate of $12 million, for $43.8 million.
Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry writes in this lighhearted volume's introduction that it's simply "Super-Cool-Andy making money."
(Andy Warhol: Making Money. Preface by Berkeley Reinhold, Contribution by Vincent Fremont and Deborah Harry. Skira/Rizzoli. October 2010.)