Billie Holiday — Volume 3. Unreleased covers by Andy Warhol REIMAGINED.

Last October, I posted an article about Andy Warhol’s unreleased cover art and described my attempts to reproduce the Billie Holiday, Volume 3 covers. Warhol made four designs for a possible Billie Holiday EP or LP entitled Volume 3.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s birth, Guy Minnebach published his research on the four covers. The first he found from a sale catalogue, it seems that two are in the Warhol Museum’s collection and the fourth was shown at the Robert Miller Gallery (New York) in 2011 according to Olivia Feal‘s blog.

A careful look at these covers shows that they are really collages — various bits of paper stauck together to make the finished design and then painted. Song titles are written in Warhol’s hand style. So, when were they made? Guy Minnebach, in his 2015 blog post, suggests that they were made in the early fifties, about the time he illustrated Margarita Madrigal’s book Magic Key to Spanish (published in 1953.) He points out that all the titles, were recorded in the 1930s for Columbia Records or its subsidiaries. I speculate that the covers may have been made later, towards the end of the fifties when Billie Holiday had left Columbia Records. Perhaps we will never know for sure.

I realize that these designs are unlikely ever to grace a real record and so I decided to try to make reproductions of Warhol’s designs. I’m in good company here. Many artists have reproduced Warhol’s art, starting early in the late sixties with Elaine Sturtevant’s copies of well-known Warhol works and continuing up to the present with Richard Pettibone’s miniature reproductions and Gavin Turk’s reinvention of Warhol’s Fright Wig Self Portrait.

So here are the results:

These are my renditions of Warhol’s originals.

My printer has managed to print up a limited edition of ten copies of each cover as ten-inch covers.

I am very happy with the results and to be able to add these to my other reproductions, such as the Progressive Piano ten-inch LP and seven-inch that I made several years ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if Columbia Records actually issued these records?

2 thoughts on “Billie Holiday — Volume 3. Unreleased covers by Andy Warhol REIMAGINED.”

  1. Richard, again congratulations for these splendid renditions of the Billie Holiday covers. Impossible to get closer to the originals, fantastic job.

    One remark: there is absolutely no need for speculation when the songs have been recorded. All Billie Holiday’s recording sessions and releases have been elaborately listed and documented. All song titles that you can read on these Warhol cover designs were recorded only once by Holiday, between 1936 and 1941, and released as 78rpm singles on the labels Vocalion, Brunswick or OKeh (all related to Columbia). She never re-recorded any of these songs for her later labels (Commodore, Decca, Clef/Verve). You can check e.g. on http://www.billieholidaysongs.com/

    1. Thanks, Guy. I did my best on the reproductions!
      I never intended to question when the songs were recorded, only to discuss the possible date when Warhol made the designs for the covers. I’ll try to make this clearer in the post.

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