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Andy Warhol’s Never-Before-Seen Photo Portraits

By Alice Newell-Hanson

 
 

This month, 83 previously unseen black-and-white photographs by Andy Warhol will go on display for the first time, in Los Angeles. Rediscovered by the writer and editor Pat Hackett, one of Warhol’s collaborators, the unique portraits capture a host of the artist’s famous friends and acquaintances, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Muhammad Ali and Keith Haring. Pictured here, the musician and actress Grace Jones. (Photograph by Collection Anthony d’Offay, London, courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The magazine editor Diana Vreeland. Vreeland exerted influence on Warhol’s Factory through Fred Hughes, Warhol’s manager, says Hackett. Hughes greatly admired Vreeland and once “painted his own office ‘Vreeland red,’” in a tribute to the editor’s favourite colour, Hackett recalls. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The actress Joan Collins. “Andy studied Joan closely, wanting to pick up tips for himself on how to stay good looking as you age,” says Hackett. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then a center for the Los Angeles Lakers. Warhol took photographs of each of the 10 contemporary sports stars featured in his “Athletes” painting series. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, right, with his mother, Matilda Basquiat. “Andy had a respect for Jean-Michel’s talent that I’d never seen him show toward any other of the younger artists,” says Hackett. “And, of course, Andy, whose own mother, Julia, had come to New York and lived with him for many years, was very interested in Jean-Michel’s relationship with his mother, Matilda.” (Photography courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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Hughes reading on a couch in Warhol’s hotel room, during a business trip. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The activist Bianca Jagger and the musician Debbie Harry. “Andy loved Debbie because she never put on airs, and then he liked Bianca because the airs she put on were so much fun,” says Hackett. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The musician Lou Reed with Warhol’s two dachshunds, Archie and Amos. Reed later bought two dachshunds of his own. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The boxer Muhammad Ali, photographed at his training camp in Pennsylvania. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The actress Farrah Fawcett, getting her makeup done. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The model and socialite Barbara Allen. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The artist Keith Haring. (Photograph by Collection Anthony d’Offay, London, courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The model Jerry Hall. “Even Andy, who was known for knowing slews of gorgeous women, could not believe the impact Jerry Hall had on people,” says Hackett. (Photograph by Collection Anthony d’Offay, London, courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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The actress Brooke Shields and Warhol. (Photograph courtesy of Hedges Projects, Los Angeles.)

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Recently, Pat Hackett, a New York-based writer and editor, opened an unassuming three-ring binder in her Gramercy Park apartment and discovered 83 unpublished photographs by Andy Warhol. The images — which depict, among other subjects, Brooke Shields, Muhammad Ali, Farrah Fawcett, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Warhol’s two pet dachshunds, Archie and Amos, seated with Lou Reed — had been gifted to Hackett by Warhol not long before his death, in 1987, and had not left her home since.

Hackett was one of Warhol’s frequent collaborators and confidantes; she contributed to Interview, co-wrote his final film, “BAD” (1987), and later edited his posthumously published “Diaries” (1989). While working on another project, Warhol’s arch entertaining manual “The Party Book” (1988), she took home a selection of the artist’s photographs — casual portraits of friends and vivid snapshots of New York nightlife — to review as possible illustrations. “A few days later, when I mentioned that I would bring them back soon, he said, ‘Oh you don’t have to.’ He’d noticed how much I loved them,” recalls Hackett.

The previously unpublished and unexhibited images, which will go on show for the first time on May 3 at Hedges Projects in Los Angeles, are all one-of-a-kind silver gelatine prints that capture their subjects in stark black and white. “Oddly, as much as Andy is known as ‘the master colourist,’ there is a whole powerful, primitive area of his work that was exclusively black and white,” says Hackett.

Warhol turned to photography more and more in the years before his death, and “you could see how much it excited him,” she adds. “His whole view of the world and of art had always been that reality could not be improved upon. That made photography a natural next big step in his evolution as an artist.”

Through Andy’s Lens: Never Before Seen Works From the Collection of Pat Hackett,” May 3-June 10 at Hedges Projects, 305 North Laurel Avenue, Los Angeles, hedges-projects.com.