Melodic Magic and Strauss Waltzes: the purchase orders

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Classical music, Fifties, Warhol on 45

The two EP’s on Camden records with a cover illustrated by Andy Warhol take me on a nostalgic trip, 13, 14 years back in time. Earlier I wrote a blogpost about how fortunate I was to discover the then unknown Strauss Waltzes EP (Camden CAE 158) at a Belgian record fair, in 2006. I contacted Warhol archivist Matt Wrbican, and Paul Maréchal, from Montreal, who I knew had the ambition to make a catalogue raisonné and an exhibition – which of course two years later he did. So there was no catalogue on Warhol cover art yet, no blogs, nothing. The way I met other Warhol cover collectors was through… eBay. In those days bidders’ aliases were not encrypted as they are now, one could see who was regularly bidding on the same items as yourself, and it was possible to just send these other bidders a message. And then you could stay in touch, share findings, compare lists. This is how I met Paul Maréchal in Canada, but also Florent Fressier (France), Richard Forrest (Sweden) and Klaus Knop (Germany). Those were interesting times. Richard in 2008 held a Warhol cover exhibition in Pitea which I visited and contributed to; Klaus Knop’s collection had been subject of a German university publication about Warhol’s cover art, as early as 2001!

But back to the Camden EP’s. After my find of the Strauss EP, I met with French collector Florent Fressier in Montreal, and a couple of times in Paris, where he told me he was intrigued by the fact that Warhol also got an assignment for Camden, so maybe there were more. He said he started cataloguing Camden EP’s, hoping to find more Warhol covers. And – just like me – he looked at eBay sales nearly daily. And bingo: one day Florent spotted the Lew White Melodic Magic EP (Camden CAE 193). Which is really amazing, because there were only a few small drawings of stars, and written titles. But the handwriting was identical to the titles on the Progressive Piano cover, and for the stars and other doodles Paul Maréchal found similarities in Warhol illustrations in a fashion magazine of that period. So Maréchal included that cover as well, in the second edition of the catalogue raisonné.

It is very rewarding that for the two Camden covers Florent and I spotted at sight years ago, recently also the purchase orders were found in the Warhol Museum archive, in Time Capsule 28. The purchase order for Waltzes  by J. Strauss Jr. is dated 12/15/53; the order for Melodic Magic is dated 12/22/53. Since these were the only two orders for Camden records in the folder, it is safe to assume there will be no other, and we can stop our search.

(please keep on reading below the pictures)

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In the above mentioned folder found in TC28, Warhol had collected mainly purchase orders and invoices for record cover illustrations, for Columbia and RCA Records. In older posts I already described the orders for 3 Bluebird Classics albums, and one for Epic album Chopin:Nocturnes.

There were also orders for five known albums on the RCA Victor label with Warhol art:

Order dated 2/1/54
“Drawing of Apple & Arrow for album cover of William Tell Overture (ERB/LRM-7054)”

Order dated 2/5/54
“Album cover art & finish on Progressive Piano LPT-3060″
(This record was never released, the Warhol Museum has a set of original RCA Victor printing proofs, on which the serial numbers are totally different: LJM-3001 (10” cover) and EJB-3001 (7″ cover).

Order dated 11/24/54
“Three  drawings for september ballet book
Att.: R.M. Jones” (the art director)
Possibly – but not sure – for one of the RCA ballet albums Daphnis & Chloe or Swan Lake, that do not have a Warhol cover, but an illustrated booklet inside.

On one single order, dated 12/9/55:
“Art work on:
One Foot – Artie Shaw – LPM-1201 (March)
I’m still swinging – LPM-1198 (March)
att. Mr. R.M. Jones”

Of course I also hoped to find orders for albums that were not known as Warhol covers until now, but alas, that was not the case. One order seemed promising, for Columbia records, dated January 25, 1958:

“bach sinfonia concertante in a major for violin and cello
ml 4869
1600 classical …………. $150.00”

But when I found said record, music by Johann Christian Bach conducted by Paul Sacher, it was clear that the geometrical artwork is not by Warhol at all. At the back, art is credited to Robert Allner.

It would be interesting to find out if Warhol actually delivered a design for the ML 4869 album or not, and if yes, how did it look like and why it was rejected?

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Although a purchase order to Warhol was found, for the album “bach sinfonia concertante in a major” ml 4869, the geometrical art cover was done by Robert Allner.

I am very grateful to Warhol archivist Erin Byrne and (the late) Matt Wrbican who made it possible for me to have a peek in this precious folder.

 

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