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Thousands of Unseen Andy Warhol Photos Documenting Celebrity Friends and Lovers Finally See The Light

From Capote to Basquiat, the pop artist’s glittering ‘visual diary’ of the last years of his life is seen for the first time

Andy Warhol, Detail from contact sheet [Photo shoot with Andy Warhol with shadow], 1986, gelatin silver print. Courtesy: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Andy Warhol, Detail from contact sheet [Photo shoot with Andy Warhol with shadow], 1986, gelatin silver print. Courtesy: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Andy Warhol, Detail from contact sheet [Photo shoot with Andy Warhol with shadow], 1986, gelatin silver print. Courtesy: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Thousands of hitherto unseen photographs by the artist Andy Warhol are being made available to the public. Documenting the artist’s glittering coterie of celebrity friends and partners, the artist’s private record of his life has been released by the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Under the Contact Warhol Project, led by art professors Peggy Phelan and Richard Meyer, Stanford University has acquired thousands of contact sheets containing more than 130,000 images from the Warhol Foundation, which will now be digitized and published online. The artist printed just 17 percent of the photographs. Phelan called the trove ‘a visual diary’ of the last years of the artist’s life, and his obsession with recording every detail of it, from the minutiae of New York city to his famous social circle.

Dating from 1976 to his passing in 1987, the photographs offer a decade’s insight into Warhol’s life in the downtown New York art scene of the time. Truman Capote, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Michael Jackson, Bianca Jagger and John Lennon all pose for the artist. And hundreds of shots record the artist’s developing relationship with his last partner Jon Gould, 26 years his junior – Gould died of Aids in 1986. Some of the unseen photographs will go on show at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center in September, with a book due in November. The digital archive is scheduled to go online by the end of 2018.

Andy Warhol, Detail from contact sheet [Photo shoot with Jean-Michel Basquiat], 1982, gelatin silver print. Courtesy: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Andy Warhol, Detail from contact sheet [Photo shoot with Jean-Michel Basquiat], 1982, gelatin silver print. Courtesy: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Andy Warhol, Detail from contact sheet [Photo shoot with Jean-Michel Basquiat], 1982, gelatin silver print. Courtesy: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Meyer told The Guardian: ‘It is Warhol as you’ve never seen him before. You’re seeing his daily life in a way that’s just never been possible before because these contact sheets have never been available to public view.’

Interview magazine, founded by Warhol in 1969, folded this May after nearly 5 decades in existence. Don’t miss our tribute by Sarah Hromack to the magazine, once known as ‘the Crystal Ball of Pop’, through which ‘Warhol operated as an artist, a hustler, and a public intellectual […] an enduring symbol of downtown cool, even as downtown became Disney.’

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