WITH AN INVITATION TO THE EXHIBITION PREVIEW AT GALERIE ILEANA SONNABEND
Dossier no. 2357 [cover title] | The Thirteen Most Wanted Men.
Paris: Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, (1967).
4to (265 × 180 mm), 6 text leaves and 1 black-and-white screenprint. Essay by Otto Hahn. Contents stapled as issued at the top left corner into the publishers printed card covers, white, text in black; light indentation from paperclip, two minor offset staple rust marks to front at spine from previously storage, otherwise fine, with a hand-written invitation to the exhibition preview attached to the front by paperclip.
First edition. The Thirteen Most Wanted Men series was originally conceived by Warhol in response to a commission to create a public artwork, his first such work, for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Architect Philip Johnson was responsible for designing the New York State Pavilion and he invited ten up-and-coming artists to each produce a new piece of work to adorn the outside. The invited artists were Peter Agostini, John Chamberlain, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Lieberman, Robert Mallary, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol. Warhol produced a 20 x 20-foot mural which reproduced mugshots drawn from The Thirteen Most Wanted, a 1962 booklet produced by the New York Police Department for internal distribution, to aid the capture of thirteen fugitives.
Installation of the mural was completed by April 15, 1964, and, after triggering objections at the highest level, New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, ordered that the mural be removed. Warhol initially refused, then proposed that the panels be replaced by a series of portraits of Robert Moses, the head of the World’s Fair. However, this alternative did not meet with Philip Johnson’s approval, and instead, Warhol decided to paint over the mural with silver paint a few days later. When the Fair opened to the public on April 22, all that was visible was a 20 x 20-foot silver square. The Thirteen Most Wanted police booklet also served as inspiration for the titles of 13 Most Beautiful Boys and 13 Most Beautiful Women, two series that comprised compilations of Warhol’s 16mm Screen Tests which he had apparently begun around the same time as the World’s Fair mural.
Later that year Warhol used the same silkscreens to make a series of slightly smaller paintings on canvas. According to the Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, ‘In late September 1964, when Warhol joined the Leo Castelli Gallery, eight canvases were recorded in the gallery registry... According to the registry, these canvases were consigned to Ileana Sonnabend in May 1966, a year before they were exhibited at her Paris gallery... The Sonnabend exhibition travelled to Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne, where it was on view in September and October, and to the Rowan Gallery, London, in March 1968.’
This catalogue for the Sonnabend exhibition includes a print of Most Wanted Man #11, John Joseph H., Jr. This mugshot photograph of John Joseph Henehan Jr. originally appeared on page 13 of the New York Police Department booklet. Henehan is described as being slight of build, with brown wavy hair, brown eyes and ‘tattoo marks: on left arm, a panther and a rose with Eileen and John; on right arm, a heart.’ At the time he was being sought for armed robbery and drug possession.