Rare Andy Warhol cookbook Wild Raspberries goes to auction

Collection of recipes written in 1959 with Suzie Frankfurt to poke fun at fashionable haute cuisine is one of only 34 copies made

A rare self-published cookbook by Andy Warhol, in which the pop artist who gave iconic status to the humble Campbell’s Soup tin pokes fun at the lavish recipes of the 1950s, is set to go up for auction later this month.

Warhol created the cookbook, Wild Raspberries, with the interior decorator Suzie Frankfurt in 1959, before he shot to fame with his paintings of soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles in 1962. The friends set out to parody the haute cuisine of the time, coming up with recipes such as “Omlet Greta Garbo”, which is “always to be eaten alone in a candlelit room”, “Gefilte of Fighting Fish” (“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”), and “Seared Roebuck”: “It is important to note that roebuck shot in ambush is infinitely better than roebuck killed after a chase.”

Frankfurt came up with the words for the parody, Warhol illustrated, his mother Julia did the calligraphy, and four schoolboys who lived upstairs from Warhol coloured the books in. Only 34 were completed, and Warhol and Frankfurt mostly gave them away to friends. Now a copy signed by Warhol for the socialite and fashion editor DD Ryan is going up for auction at Bonhams in New York later this month, for an estimated $30,000-$50,000 (£21,600-£36,100).

“The books perfectly capture the puckish nature of much of Warhol’s work,” said Darren Sutherland at Bonhams. “[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 favourite ice cream shop Serendipity, which moonlighted as an art gallery. They are a wonderful glimpse into a playfulness that follows him throughout his development as an artist.”

Warhol met Frankfurt after she saw some of his paintings in Serendipity and, impressed, tracked him down. “The only reason Andy liked me was because I was raised in Malibu with movie stars like Myrna Loy all around. I liked Andy because I’d always felt my whole life that I was an outsider. It may not be the fact, but it’s how I feel. For some strange reason, I felt that I fit in with him,” she said in 1997.

She described Wild Raspberries as “a funny cookbook for people who don’t cook”. “My mother, who was a hostess sine qua non, deemed the most important thing for a new bride was to be a good hostess. I wanted to emulate my mother, of course, and it was the year all these French cookbooks came out. I tried to make sense of them. ‘Make a béchamel sauce,’ they’d say. I didn’t even know what that was,” she said in an interview. “So we did the book, Andy with his Dr Martin’s dyes and Mrs Warhol, her calligraphy. She was gifted and untutored, and we left all the spelling mistakes. I wrote the recipes.”

She and Warhol, she said, “thought it would be a masterpiece and we’d sell thousands. I think we sold 20.”


Alison Flood

The GuardianTramp

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