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The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné

AT SOME MOMENT between 1959 and 1961, Andy Warhol underwent an artistic change deep enough to bear comparison to a religious conversion. Before then his work had the effete charm of designer valentines: plump cherubs, posies, pink and blue butterflies, pussy cats in confectionary colors, young men with ornamental cocks, and ladies’ footwear seemingly designed with fantasists in mind. His images after the change were vernacular, familiar, and anonymous, drawn from the back pages of blue-collar newspapers, the cover pages of sensationalist tabloids, pulp comics, fan magazines, junk mail, publicity glossies, boiler plate from throwaway advertisements. It was as though he had received some commandment to lead the lowest of the pictorial low into the precincts of the highest high art. There were no disclosures or confessions concerning what remains perhaps the most mysterious transformation in

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