Studies for a Boy Book
Offset lithograph on paper
15 7/8 x 13 1/2 in.; 40.2 x 34.3 cm.
Gift of Charles Lisanby
This early drawing by Andy Warhol is a study for one of the miniature illustrated books that constitute the majority of his work from the mid-1950s. The Boy Book— as it was to be called—features various depictions of the male nude that are said to be inspired by the works of Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, and Dudley Huppler, depending on whom one consults. Charles himself said:
“Matisse was in a way, perhaps, an influence. At that time, Matisse was doing that chapel, where he drew on tiles just in black-and-white and Andy did know that was being done at the time, but he wasn't trying to draw that way. He was trying, if anything, to draw more like Ben Shahn but not like Ben Shahn but his own way. He was also trying to draw like those wonderful drawings of Cocteau - of the sailor dancing and those things. Those were much closer in influence, and because of the sexual connotation, particularly fascinated him”.
While The Boy Book was ultimately never published, Warhol was able to convince David Mann to show these drawings at the Bodley Gallery in New York under the title, "Studies for a Boy Book by Andy Warhol”. This particular study, one of many that Andy did of Charles, was used as the poster advertisement for the show, which ran from February 14th to March 3rd, 1956. Speaking on this piece, Charles reminisces, “You see... it's printed that way, but, actually it's me lying down that way. I was lying down, taking-a-nap picture, and that's why the eyes are closed. And I looked like that then. A lot of those pictures in 'The Boy Book' really are me”.